Infection and rheumatoid arthritis: still an open question

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2011 Jul;23(4):352-7. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0b013e3283477b7b.


Purpose of review: This review focuses on recent research that explores the role of infectious organisms in the development of autoimmunity and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Recent findings: Human and animal studies provide further evidence supporting a role for the periodontal pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in the development of RA. The microbiome plays a key role in the developing immune system. Alterations in the bowel microbiome lead to altered innate and adaptive immune responses potentially relevant to the development or persistence of RA.

Summary: Microbes and the host response to microbes are important factors in the maintenance of health. Abnormalities or imbalances in these responses can lead to the development of autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as RA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Communicable Diseases / complications*
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Periodontal Diseases / complications
  • Periodontal Diseases / immunology
  • Periodontal Diseases / microbiology