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Review

The genetics of rheumatoid arthritis and the need for animal models to find and understand the underlying genes

Johan Jirholt, Anna-Karin B Lindqvist* and Rikard Holmdahl

Author Affiliations

Section for Medical Inflammation Research, CMB, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

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Arthritis Res 2001, 3:87-97  doi:10.1186/ar145

Published: 20 December 2000

Abstract

The causes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are largely unknown. However, RA is most probably a multifactorial disease with contributions from genetic and environmental factors. Searches for genes that influence RA have been conducted in both human and experimental model materials. Both types of study have confirmed the polygenic inheritance of the disease. It has become clear that the features of RA complicate the human genetic studies. Animal models are therefore valuable tools for identifying genes and determining their pathogenic role in the disease. This is probably the fastest route towards unravelling the pathogenesisis of RA and developing new therapies.

Keywords:
arthritis; collagen; genetics; linkage