Researchers have identified a protein that they say may be implicated in the development of JIA.
The scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York looked for abnormal accumulations of proteins in the joint fluid and blood of 50 patients with juvenile arthritis and 26 children without the disease.
They discovered a statistically significant increase in transthyretin (TTR ) autoantibodies in 43 of the children with JIA. Further analysis revealed some of the children had unusually high levels of antibodies to the protein.
“Our data point to TTR as an autoantigen potentially involved in the pathogenesis of JIA and oxidation/aggregation of TTR as an important mechanism that facilitates TTR immunogenicity,” wrote the study authors in their paper published in JCI Insight.
Commenting on the study Arthritis UK said the findings give scientists a new target to aim for when developing innovative treatments for JIA.
It could potentially mean that patients could benefit from a drug that is already available called tafamidis, which is designed to target TTR and is approved in Europe to treat familial amyloidosis.
However, specific testing would first need to be conducted to see if it can benefit juvenile arthritis patients, they said.