No one likes clingy people, but "clingy" blood platelets may offer hope for millions of people with rheumatoid arthritis. According to new research findings published in The Journal of Leukocyte Biology, a sub population of immune cells (lymphocytes) known to play a significant role in rheumatoid arthritis has platelets attached to their surface. Those attached platelets reduced the ability of the immune cells to cause disease by reducing their activity levels and ability to spread. This opens the door to new investigations into treatments that ultimately bind platelets to lymphocytes. In addition, understanding this process may serve as a tool for better being able to predict the severity of the disease.
"We hope with this knowledge to contribute to the reduction in the chronicity of inflammatory diseases, one of the main aspects that compromise the quality of life of the patients," said Silvia Vidal, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Immunology at the Institut Recerca of the Hospital Santa Creu I Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain.