Hypothesis: the nervous system may contribute to the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis

J Rheumatol. 1985 Jun;12(3):406-11.


No current theory of the mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) explains its important clinical features. We hypothesize that neural mechanisms are involved in this pathophysiology and they explain at least 3 clinical features: specific high risk joints are more likely to develop arthritis; specific high risk joints have more severe arthritis; and RA is bilaterally symmetric. If our hypothesis is correct, it will provide a rationale for the development of new therapies for what is now an inadequately treated disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Joints / innervation
  • Joints / physiopathology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiopathology
  • Substance P / physiology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology


  • Substance P