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Editorial

Role of environmental factors in autoantibody production - importance of a detailed analysis in a small cohort

Minoru Satoh12*, Angela Ceribelli3 and Edward KL Chan3

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100221, Gainesville, FL 32610-0221, USA

2 Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100221, Gainesville, FL 32610-0221, USA

3 Department of Oral Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0424, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:109  doi:10.1186/ar3739


See related research article by Muro et al., http://arthritis-research.com/content/13/6/R214

Published: 29 February 2012

Abstract

In the previous issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy, Muro and colleagues reported a detailed epidemiologic analysis in central Japan on one of the new myositis-specific autoantibodies to MDA-5 (melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5), which is associated with clinically amyopathic dermatomyositis accompanying interstitial lung disease. The increasing prevalence of anti-MDA-5, higher prevalence in small rural towns, and geographical clustering in two areas along the Kiso River suggest a role of environmental factors associated with rural communities or the river/water system or both. A detailed analysis of a small cohort may offer clues, which is ignored in multi-center studies, to the pathogenesis of systemic rheumatic diseases and autoantibody production.