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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is Rheumatoid Arthritis hereditary?

    Have I passed this onto my kids?
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    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    The best-known genetic risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis is inheriting specific versions of genes which code for a protein called HLA-DRB1.

    The HLA proteins play a role in helping the immune system to “decide” which cells are pathogens (and should be got rid of) and which are normal body cells (and should be left alone). Sometimes the immune system “makes a mistake” and destroys normal body cells - this “mistake” is called an auto-immune disease; rheumatoid arthritis is an example.

    However, environmental risk factors are also important in rheumatoid arthritis - inheritance of some forms of HLA-DRB1 does not mean that somebody will necessarily get rheumatoid arthritis.

    This link (and links therein) provides more information: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/rheumatoid-arthritis  .

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