Getting Closer: Finding Out Why the Immune System Attacks Itself

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Biomolecular researcher Navin Varadarajan has published in Arthritis & Rheumatology journal a first-of-its-kind study - a comprehensive profile of B cells in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). B cells are lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that make protein antibodies that attack a patient’s healthy proteins in patients with RA.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to conduct whole transcriptome profiling of antigen-specific B cells in any human autoimmune disorder,” said Varadarajan, whose results portray B cells not merely as autoantibody producers, but also as a source of diverse molecules that can influence proliferation, differentiation and activation of other pathogenic cell types.

“We anticipate that these data will serve as a foundational data set for investigating multiple hypotheses on the roles of B cells in RA and other autoimmune disorders, and will enable drug discovery,” said Varadarajan.