The term rheumatoid factors has been applied to a class of closely related proteins that are responsible for a variety of serological reactions currently employed for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. A marked intensification of interest in these factors has developed during the past two years, primarily because there is an intuitive feeling that they might represent a clue to the etiology of rheumatoid arthritis. Recent work, particularly with their isolation, has not diminished this interest, and it now appears that they probably represent antibodies, possibly autoantibodies. Also, the genetic distribution of these factors, and their occurrence in certain asymptomatic relatives of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, have offered a new and fundamental approach to the study of this disease.
The evidence that these factors are involved in a direct causative manner in the joint lesions of rheumatoid arthritis is extremely scanty. Their occurrence in a wide variety of disorders other
KUNKEL HG. The Rheumatoid Factors. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;104(5):832–836. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270110152020
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