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Commentary

Reshaping Cinderella's slipper: the shared epitope hypothesis

Robert Winchester

Author Affiliations

Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics and Pathology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:109  doi:10.1186/ar1970


See related research article by Michon et al., http://arthritis-research.com/content/8/3/R79

Published: 22 May 2006

Abstract

This issue of Arthritis Research and Therapy contains a succinct and elegant paper by Michou and colleagues that advances our understanding of the genetic basis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by reclassifying the contribution of RA susceptibility alleles according to their structure. This line of research is potentially important in our conceptualization of the mechanism of disease in RA, in predicting disease course and severity, and as a model for further studies on this topic. The author's approach to reassessing the molecular structure of the shared epitope redirects attention to using the binding properties of the major histocompatibility complex molecules associated with susceptibility to search for the peptides driving the autoimmune process underlying rheumatoid arthritis