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Protein discovery could help diagnose, treat PsA 

By Melissa Leavitt

Researchers have discovered a specific set of proteins involved in psoriatic arthritis, which could point the way toward new methods of diagnosing and treating the disease.

Using a scientific technique called mass spectrometry, which analyzes the molecules found in a particular substance, scientists compared the proteins found in the synovial fluid of people with psoriatic arthritis to those found in people with osteoarthritis. They identified 12 specific proteins that are elevated in psoriatic arthritis.

Results from the analysis were published in the recent issue of the journal Clinical Proteomics, in an article titled “Identification of psoriatic arthritis mediators in synovial fluid by quantitative mass spectrometry.”

Synovial fluid is found in the synovial joints, which are the most common kind of joint in the body. Researchers chose to evaluate this fluid, rather than blood, because it contains proteins secreted from various parts of the joint, including ligaments and cartilage.

Many of the proteins that the scientists discovered are already known to be involved in inflammation. For instance, one protein, called DEFA1, is secreted by neutrophils, which are a kind of white blood cell that contribute to inflammation.

Other proteins discovered by the research team had not previously been identified as playing a part in arthritis.

This study is the most comprehensive investigation to date of synovial fluid in psoriatic arthritis, the authors note. Although these proteins still need to be further analyzed, they could provide new information about how psoriatic arthritis develops. 

This discovery could be a first step toward identifying biomarkers for psoriatic arthritis, which could help provide a definitive way of diagnosing the disease. Ultimately, this discovery could also help researchers develop new treatments targeting these specific proteins.

Learn more about the National Psoriasis Foundation efforts to improve diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis. 


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