Child's Genes affect the Mother's risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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Parental genetic make-up decides almost every tiny aspect about a child’s health but did you know your health could be affected by your child’s genetic make up?

According to a new study, a child’s genetic make-up may be a contributing factor to his or her mother’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Researcher Giovanna Cruz said that that female predilection of rheumatoid arthritis strongly suggests that factors involved in pregnancy are involved and during pregnancy, you’ll find a small number of fetal cells circulating around the mother’s body, and it seems that in some women, they persist as long as several decades.

Cruz said that women with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to have this persistence of fetal cells, known as fetal microchimerism, than women without the condition, suggesting that it is a potential risk factor for the development of rheumatoid arthritis. 

The researchers found that having children with these high-risk alleles – inherited from the children’s father – increased the women’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis, even after accounting for differences among the mothers’ genes.

These results showed that beyond a woman’s own genetic risk of rheumatoid arthritis, there is additional risk conferred by carrying and bearing children with certain high-risk alleles.  Cruz added that they don’t yet understand how the shared epitope and other HLA alleles influence rheumatoid arthritis risk, but one possibility is that interactions between the proteins these genes encode may stimulate the autoimmune symptoms of the disease. 

What is Rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disorder that primarily targets the joints but can affect other body parts as well. It causes pain and limits the function of your joints. There is joint swelling, redness, and stiffness. It affects various organs of the body.

There may be associated fever, lymph nodes swelling, weight loss, tiredness, loss of appetite and poor sleep. The causes for the disease are still not completely known. Read more about Rheumatoid arthritis — causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

With inputs from IANS