BioScience Trends. 2020;14(5):342-348. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2020.03253)

Rheumatoid arthritis-associated bone erosions: evolving insights and promising therapeutic strategies

Yan ML, Su JL, Li Y


The human immune system has evolved to recognize and eradicate pathogens, a process that is known as "host defense". If, however, the immune system does not work properly, it can mistakenly attack the body's own tissues and induce autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is such an autoimmune disease in which the synovial joints are predominately attacked by the immune system. Moreover, RA is associated with bone destruction and joint deformity. Although biologic agents have propelled RA treatment forward dramatically over the past 30 years, a considerable number of patients with RA still experience progressive bone damage and joint disability. That is to be expected since current RA therapies are all intended to halt inflammation but not to alleviate bone destruction. A better understanding of bone erosions is crucial to developing a novel strategy to treat RA-associated erosions. This review provides insights into RA-associated bone destruction and perspectives for future clinical interventions.

KEYWORDS: rheumatoid arthritis, bone erosions, RANKL, synovial fibroblasts

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