Purpose of reviewRheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease of evolving immune dysregulation that culminates in joint destruction and disability. The principle by which pro-inflammatory cytokines may be therapeutically targeted to abrogate disease is well established, but has yet to translate into reliable cures for patients. Emerging insights into cytokine-mediated pathobiology during rheumatoid arthritis development are reviewed, and their implications for future treatment strategies considered.Recent findingsAccumulating data highlight cytokine perturbations before the clinical onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Some of these have now been linked to the arthritogenic activation of autoantibodies and associated pain and bone destruction in affected joints. These observations suggest cytokines may trigger the transition from systemic immunity to arthritis. Cytokine exposure could furthermore ‘prime’ synovial stromal cells to perpetuate a dominant pro-inflammatory environment. By facilitating cross-talk between infiltrating immune cells and even sustaining ectopic lymphoid structure development in some cases, cytokine interplay ultimately underpins the failure of arthritis to resolve.SummarySuccessful therapeutic stratification will depend upon an increasingly sophisticated appreciation of how dominant players amongst cytokine networks vary across time and anatomical space during incipient rheumatoid arthritis. The prize of sustained remission for all patients justifies the considerable effort required to achieve this understanding.
Current Opinion in Rheumatology – Wolters Kluwer Health
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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