The research also showed that RA patients with heart disease have even higher degrees of oxidation than RA patients without heart disease. From there, Dr. Pennathur used a reverse cholesterol transport assay to measure how effective the damaged HDL in RA patients was in removing cholesterol.
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Explore This IssueDecember 2012
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“We were able to show that HDL, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, has less ability to remove cholesterol in cell cultures,” says Dr. Pennathur.
Another finding of the study was that the composition of HDL molecules in RA patients was different than in those who did not have the disease.
“One of the things we found was that patients with RA tend to have a different protein composition compared to normal people,” says Dr. Pennathur. “Patients with heart disease and RA have even more pronounced changes in their HDL. In and of itself, it doesn’t prove a whole lot, but what we are trying to figure out is how the different protein composition of this HDL may account for the dysfunction that we see in this function.”
Dr. Pennathur says the Foundation-funded research has led to several papers, and that the next step is to replicate the study with a larger sample.
“Our next goal is to do this with a larger group of patients to see if these markers can predict the future occurrence of disease,” he says.
To learn more about how you can support the Rheumatology Research Foundation, please visit www.rheumatology.org/Foundation.
What’s in a Name?
For more than a quarter of a century, the Rheumatology Research Foundation, formerly the ACR Research and Education Foundation, has been on the forefront of training and research funding in the field of rheumatology. In fact, no other national foundation works side by side with the ACR and focuses exclusively on funding training programs and research in rheumatology.
To increase our capacity to fund the best and brightest in the field, we are bringing our mission, achievements, and discoveries to a new audience—patients and families who care about finding the causes, improving treatment, and unlocking cures for rheumatic diseases.
Our new name and tagline more clearly convey who we are and what we do, allowing us to bring more people together to advance treatments and find cures.
Visit the Rheumatology Research Foundation online at www.rheumatology.org/Foundation to learn more.