Boston—Separate research groups at Brigham and Women's Hospital here are working to clarify the mysterious origins of rheumatoid arthritis, the most common autoimmune condition in the United States, affecting between 1% and 2% of the population. One group, led by a biochemist, reports that a previously unknown variety of immune cells may set off the painful condition by attacking carbohydrate molecules in the joints. The other group, led by a rheumatologist, identifies mast cells—known as the culprits behind allergic reactions—as responsible for the characteristic chronic inflammation.
Vastag B. Arthritis Puzzle: Two Pieces Snap Into Place. JAMA. 2002;288(12):1457-1458. doi:10.1001/jama.288.12.1457