Journal of Clinical and Cellular Immunology

Journal of Clinical and Cellular Immunology
Open Access

ISSN: 2155-9899


Microbial Infection and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Song Li, Yangsheng Yu, Yinshi Yue, Zhixin Zhang and Kaihong Su

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex autoimmune disease affecting 1-2% of general worldwide population. The etiopathogenesis of RA involves the interplay of multiple genetic risk factors and environmental triggers. Microbial infections are believed to play an important role in the initiation and perpetuation of RA. Recent clinical studies have shown the association of microbial infections with RA. Accumulated studies using animal models have also found that microbial infections can induce and/or exaggerate the symptoms of experimental arthritis. In this review, we have identified the most common microbial infections associated with RA in the literature and summarized the current evidence supporting their pathogenic role in RA. We also discussed the potential mechanisms whereby infection may promote the development of RA, such as generation of neo-autoantigens, induction of loss of tolerance by molecular mimicry, and bystander activation of the immune system.