Public Release: 

Prolonged repetitive physical workload increases risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis

New insights into which patients are genetically more susceptible

European League Against Rheumatism

London, United Kingdom, June 10, 2016: The results of a study presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2016) showed that prolonged repetitive physical workload increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although work-related physical activity over many years is known to cause many cases of osteoarthritis (OA) in selected joints, this is the first study to show a link between physical workload and RA.1

To examine whether physical workload is a possible risk factor for RA, information on different types of self-reported exposure was analysed from a population of 3,680 RA patients and 5,935 matched controls included in the Swedish Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA). To investigate whether some people are more susceptible than others, the risk was compared in subjects with and without a specific genotype (HLA-DRB1), and an analysis was performed in relation to the presence/absence of ACPA (anti-citrullinated protein antibodies) among RA patients.

"We found that some types of physical workload increased the odds of developing RA more than others," said Miss Pingling Zeng of the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. "There also appeared to be a significant interaction between genetic makeup, in terms of HLA-DRB1 genes, and the risk of ACPA-positive RA from specific types of physical workload."

The estimated odds ratio of developing RA in exposed vs. unexposed subjects was greater than or equal to 1.5, with several repetitive types of manual work that would be common, for example, in the building trade: exposure to repeated vibration (1.5), carrying or lifting weights greater than 10kg (1.5), bending/turning (1.6), and working with hands either below knee level (1.7), or above shoulder level (1.8).

"These new insights into the cause of RA may hopefully lead to effective strategies to prevent the development of RA, particularly in those RA patients with a susceptible genotype," Miss Zeng concluded.

Abstract Number: OP0241

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress

Press Office in the London Suite at ExCel London during EULAR 2016 or on:

Email: eularpressoffice@cohnwolfe.com

Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7725 915 492 / +44 (0) 7786 171 476

Twitter: @EULAR_Press

Youtube: Eular Pressoffice

About EULAR

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is an umbrella organisation which represents scientific societies, health professional associations and organisations for people with Rheumatic Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMD) throughout Europe.

EULAR aims to promote, stimulate and support the research, prevention, and treatment of RMD and the rehabilitation of those it affects.

EULAR underlines the importance of combating rheumatic diseases not only by medical means, but also through a wider context of care for rheumatic patients and a thorough understanding of their social and other needs. EULAR is supported in this mission by its 45 scientific member societies, 36 PARE (People with Arthritis/Rheumatism in Europe) organisations, 22 HPR (Health Professionals in Rheumatology) associations and 23 corporate members.

The EULAR Annual European Congress of Rheumatology is the foremost international medical meeting announcing the latest research on rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. EULAR 2016 is expected to attract over 14,000 delegates from around 120 countries. Most if not all professions working in the vast field of RMD will be represented.

To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit: http://www.eular.org

References

1. EULAR 2016; London: Abstract OP0241

2. Felson DT. Do occupation-related physical factors contribute to arthritis? Baillieres Clin Rheumatol. 1994; 8(1): 63-77

3. Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA) http://www.eirasweden.se/index1.htm [Accessed 5 May 2016]

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