Can a Mother "Inherit" the Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis from her Child?

Jan 06, 2015, 11:56 ET from UBM Medica US

NORWALK, Conn., Jan. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- UBM Medica US announces that Rheumatology Network, a leading online community for rheumatologists, presents a startling proposal that may explain why pregnancy appears to increase the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a painful inflammatory condition affecting the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1.3 million American adults, most of them women. New research shows that women with RA are more likely than other women to have children whose genetic profiles indicate a high risk for RA, even above and beyond the risk conferred by the mother's own genes. This new evidence bolsters the suspicion that the mother's immune system may react to signals on fetal cells circulating in her blood stream, which can be shared across the placental membrane during pregnancy. Thus, genetic risk passed on to the unborn child from the father may affect the mother-to-be.

Women are known to be at higher risk for RA than men, but this difference has never been fully explained. This sharing of fetal RA risk may also apply to men, because a later male sibling could be exposed if fetal cells from an earlier pregnancy persist in the mother's bloodstream after the first child has been born. These genetic risks may also, in theory, be conferred during blood transfusion.

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Media contact:
Jason J. Golden
Content Marketing Manager

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