Pregnancy and arthritis

If it's on your mind and it has to do with multiple sclerosis in any way, post it here.

Pregnancy and arthritis

Postby scoobyjude » Sat Aug 19, 2006 11:41 am

A reader of the site Chris wanted me to post this article from the Seattle Times. It's very interesting and maybe will have some effect on the research of pregnancy and MS too.

Hutch experts discover why pregnancy curbs arthritis
By Warren King

Seattle Times medical reporter


Denise Swanson, a special-education teacher in Seattle, says all of the symptoms of her rheumatoid arthritis disappeared when she was pregnant.

Rheumatoid arthritis like Denise Swanson's can be debilitating, eventually deforming joints and making walking and using the hands very difficult.


When Denise Swanson developed rheumatoid arthritis nearly three decades ago, it was like a sudden storm of pain, swelling and fatigue.

It was excruciating for the then-21-year-old college student just to pick up her backpack. She couldn't even write. Medication eased her pain and stiffness, but not much.

"I would move like an old lady," said Swanson, now a 49-year-old special-education teacher in Seattle. "It was scary."

But then a few years later Swanson and her husband, Tom, did something that happened to bring total relief from the devastating disease: They decided to have a baby. All of Swanson's symptoms disappeared about a month after she became pregnant.

"With all the things you're supposed to cope with in pregnancy, this was a joy," Swanson said. "I really did well. I felt like [my arthritis] had gone away forever."

Scientists — and many new mothers — have long known that pregnancy relieves rheumatoid arthritis. What hasn't been entirely clear is why.

Now researchers at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have delved deeper toward an answer, for the first time identifying that DNA from dead cells naturally sloughing off the growing fetuses probably results in the pregnant women getting relief from their arthritis.

"The bottom line is we could see a specific effect on the arthritis," said Dr. Lee Nelson, an expert on pregnancy and immunology, and leader of the recent study reported in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

"If we can understand this better, we could possibly work toward specific treatments for autoimmune diseases."

DNA

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks the synovial membrane, tissue that lines the joints. Some researchers believe this autoimmune reaction happens after an infection in someone who is genetically susceptible to arthritis.

The Fred Hutchinson scientists looked at the amount of DNA from the fetus circulating in the blood of 25 pregnant women with arthritis and found that the fetal DNA was plentiful in the blood of almost all the women. Those with higher DNA levels had significant relief from the disease. Four who had little or no relief had low levels of the DNA.

Then, about two to four months after delivery, almost all the women with arthritis relief experienced a return of the painful disease.

Pregnancy has also been known to relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and Graves' disease, a thyroid disorder, both of which also are autoimmune diseases.

The Hutchinson scientists speculate that the fetal DNA acts as a sort of decoy: The mother's immune system focuses on the fetal DNA instead of the mother's synovial membrane cells. Immune cells decide the fetal DNA is OK, so they back off their attack on the mother's joints.

Fetal DNA is technically "foreign" to the body, but the immune cells are programmed not to attack DNA from cells that have died as the result of a natural process, rather than from infection or another cause, said Drs. Kristina Adams and Zhen Yan, other researchers on the study.

Swanson found arthritis relief through three pregnancies. But after each delivery — with Graham, now 20; Isaac, now 17; and Chris, now 12 — her arthritis returned after about two months. When participating in the Hutchinson study with her last two pregnancies, the researchers found the measured fetal DNA levels dropped soon after delivery, and her hands were soon too stiff to manipulate diaper pins or even hold her baby to nurse.

"I would get stiff and more and more uncomfortable," Swanson said.

Swanson's medications for arthritis have ranged from aspirin and several other anti-inflammatory drugs, to shots of gold, which acts more broadly on the immune system. The medications have controlled her arthritis fairly well, but she has suffered side effects, including mouth sores, stomach problems, raised blood pressure and weight gain.

1 percent

About 1 percent of the population has rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile arthritis, and women are more than twice as likely to have it as men, experts estimate. The diseases can be debilitating, eventually deforming joints and making walking and using the hands very difficult.

Women with the disease are more likely to deliver prematurely or by Caesarean section and may have longer hospitalizations, other recent research has indicated. A drug that would better target the basic autoimmune process of rheumatoid arthritis would be welcomed by millions of patients like Swanson, Nelson said.

Nelson and her colleagues are the first to examine the role of fetal DNA in arthritis remission during pregnancy. Other scientists have investigated how the genetics of the fetus and biochemicals that regulate the immune system influence arthritis.

Next, the Hutchinson scientists hope to expand the study to examine the activity of immune cells and look more closely at fetal proteins that may help trigger the immune system's response.

Nelson predicts that a medication could be developed in about five years, depending on drug-company interest.

This latest research was financed by the National Institutes of Health and the Washington Women's Foundation, which awards grants for work in health, social services, arts and culture, education and the environment.

Warren King: 206-464-2247 or wking@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company
User avatar
scoobyjude
Family Elder
 
Posts: 516
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:00 pm
Location: suburb of Chicago, IL USA

Advertisement

Postby scoobyjude » Sat Aug 19, 2006 11:45 am

Sorry, didn't realize dignan had already posted. Should've checked first.
User avatar
scoobyjude
Family Elder
 
Posts: 516
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:00 pm
Location: suburb of Chicago, IL USA

Postby Lyon » Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:49 pm

oo
Last edited by Lyon on Sat May 07, 2011 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lyon
Family Elder
 
Posts: 6063
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:00 pm

Postby scoobyjude » Sat Aug 19, 2006 7:02 pm

Bob, thanks for making me feel less stupid. It was a very interesting article. Hope something comes of it for MS too.
User avatar
scoobyjude
Family Elder
 
Posts: 516
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:00 pm
Location: suburb of Chicago, IL USA

Postby Lyon » Sun Aug 20, 2006 6:15 am

oo
Last edited by Lyon on Sat May 07, 2011 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lyon
Family Elder
 
Posts: 6063
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:00 pm

Postby bromley » Sun Aug 20, 2006 9:31 am

Biogen is reporting that it has found a new pathway in relation to RA. While not directly relevant to MS, findings about the immune system can only be of benefit to other disease where the immune system is doing damage.


http://www.biogenidec.com/site/019_0.ht ... PR_138.htm

On the issue of pregancy, I think the body would normally see the baby as a foreign body and attack it, but some protection against this kicks in. The same is true with organ transplants, and some of the drugs in trial for MS are those used to stop the body attacking the new organ.

Bob,

I think you said your wife was 47. Might be time to think about expanding the family?

For single women who use the site, our romeo moderator Arron has said that he would be more than happy to assist in this treatment option.

Ian
User avatar
bromley
Family Elder
 
Posts: 1889
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 3:00 pm

Postby Minai » Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:17 am

bromley wrote:On the issue of pregancy, I think the body would normally see the baby as a foreign body and attack it, but some protection against this kicks in. The same is true with organ transplants, and some of the drugs in trial for MS are those used to stop the body attacking the new organ


Ian, can't help wondering that if MS is caused/triggered by some viral and/or stealth pathogen, if it can't be passed along, by the mother, to the child. I know that HIV is, so the answer is probably yes. But, have you heard/read anything, specific, about this in your role as EBV Ambassador?

Thanks,

Minai
User avatar
Minai
Family Member
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 4:00 pm

Postby bromley » Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:24 pm

Minai,

I'm not sure what can be passed to a child before birth. Many experts think that a virus like EBV might be a trigger for MS. Most viruses are acquired during childhood and that's why young children are vacinated against viruses such as measles. But I did read some research that suggested that cerebral palsy might be caused by the mother getting a virus during the pregnancy.

Your right about HIV - I think the child has a 50% chance of getting it if the mother has it. But the HIV virus is mainly acquired through sexual contact, so may be different from viruses such as EBV.

Ian
User avatar
bromley
Family Elder
 
Posts: 1889
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 3:00 pm

Postby Lyon » Sun Aug 20, 2006 1:57 pm

oo
Last edited by Lyon on Sat May 07, 2011 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lyon
Family Elder
 
Posts: 6063
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:00 pm

Question

Postby lyndacarol » Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:41 pm

So, in all this talk of pregnancy, how does the home page article saying that fathers are more likely to pass MS to children fit in?
User avatar
lyndacarol
Family Elder
 
Posts: 2086
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:00 pm

Postby Lyon » Sun Aug 20, 2006 6:01 pm

oo
Last edited by Lyon on Sat May 07, 2011 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lyon
Family Elder
 
Posts: 6063
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:00 pm

Re: Question

Postby Minai » Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:32 pm

lyndacarol wrote:So, in all this talk of pregnancy, how does the home page article saying that fathers are more likely to pass MS to children fit in?


Exactly...!!! Quote from that article:

"While the development of multiple sclerosis in a given person remains somewhat of a mystery, consensus opinion is that there is at least one component that is genetically based, with perhaps others including an environmental trigger such as a virus or toxin."

Just genetic? Genetic and viral? Or, even just viral? :?

Quick google search, "sperm + viral" and this is the first thing that came up for me:

<shortened url>

Sperm contains viral DNA?! If so, sperm causes viral infection??? Hmmm...

As always, sooooo many questions! :?: :?: :?:

Minai
User avatar
Minai
Family Member
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 4:00 pm

Postby Minai » Sun Aug 20, 2006 9:54 pm

bromley wrote:Your right about HIV - I think the child has a 50% chance of getting it if the mother has it. But the HIV virus is mainly acquired through sexual contact, so may be different from viruses such as EBV.


Thanks Ian, had never heard that about CP. And, yes, HIV different virus than EBV, but still have to wonder if one virus can be sexually transmitted, can't they all?

Pulled this up in a quick search, too...

"These results suggest that seminal plasma may facilitate EBV replication.."

<shortened url>

Minai :?
User avatar
Minai
Family Member
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 4:00 pm

Postby Lyon » Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:12 pm

oo
Lyon
Family Elder
 
Posts: 6063
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:00 pm


Return to General Discussion

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users