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A actinomycetemcomitans may be a trigger for autoimmune response, rheumatoid arthritis

11:22 EDT 20 Jun 2017 | Healio

Compared with healthy individuals, patients with rheumatoid arthritis appear to have a disproportionately high incidence of periodontal disease and infection. While the association has been established for some time, a 2016 study published in Science Translational Medicine has identified the potential link between the two — an aggressive bacterium called Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. In certain patients with a genetic susceptibility, infection with A.  actinomycetemcomitans may trigger an autoimmune response that leads to rheumatoid arthritis.“There are people who have inflammation of the gums and others who have true periodontal disease,” Maximilian F. Konig, MD, an internist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Healio Rheumatology. “Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) is a rather aggressive bacterium that is highly associated with periodontal disease. But obviously, only a subset of patients with Aa gum infection end up developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA).”

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