Principal Investigator: Dr Duncan Porter
Department: Rheumatology, Gartnavel General Hospital
Institution: University of Glasgow
Gartnavel General Hospital
University of Glasgow
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a common type of arthritis, affecting >600,000
people in the UK. It can cause pain, stiffness and disability. People with RA
may also develop other illnesses, such as heart disease or osteoporosis
(thinning of the bones). Some people are more prone to develop RA because
of their genes, but other lifestyle factors such as smoking are also important.
As a result of their genes and exposure to these other factors, some people
develop antibodies in their blood stream, called rheumatoid factor (RF) or
anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA). At this stage, people usually don’t
have any symptoms. Months or years later, some (but not all) people develop
aches and pains, and some time later full blown arthritis can emerge.
We require baseline information (including biomarker and genotype data,
when available) from all UK Biobank participants, and in due course follow-up
data about hospital admissions and new illnesses that develop over time. We
plan to study risk factors for developing RA and the illnesses that are
sometimes associated with it (such as osteoporosis and heart disease) by
comparing those people who already have RA, those who have RF and/or
ACPA but who don’t have RA (who are likely to develop RA in time), and the
rest of the UK Biobank population.
This study will identify the world’s largest group of subjects with RF/ACPA
before the diagnosis of RA. Identifying those factors that are related to the
development of RF/ACPA in the blood at first, and then the subsequent
development of full blown RA will give insights into the cause of RA. In due
course, we will submit linked applications to study the samples of ACPA +ve
individuals in more detail.