Northwestern University LogoThe immune cells of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis tend to become aggressive and strike the joints and bones. Now, researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have unfolded that this behavior is due to the loss of the bouncer protein that guards the cells in the same way a bouncer protects the club from rogues.

The name of the protein is P21 that apparently prohibits immune cells from setting their destructive riot through the cartilage and bone. The scientists inserted a replica of the protein into an animal prototype of rheumatoid arthritis to check the reaction. The disease process seemingly came to a stop.

“The bouncer molecule stopped the immune cells from going crazy. Imagine destructive customers in a bar, and the bouncer says, ‘You are going to behave!’ That’s P21. This discovery opens up a new avenue for future therapies, which are greatly needed for rheumatoid arthritis,” commented lead author Harris Perlman, associate professor of rheumatology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School.

Presently, there is no way to cease the hyperactive cells without any hazardous effect. To develop this new approach, the scientists conducted trials for 5 different portions known as peptides of P21. The team introduced each peptide within a ‘ghostlike’ molecule and then inserted it into mice with a condition similar to rheumatoid arthritis. The molecule seemed to stealthily filter out the immune cells. As the 7 day trial was over, one of the tested peptides appeared to have set the overexcited immune cells to rest without any sort of negative effects.

Current treatments for this condition such as steroids come with side effects. Perlman is now planning a 30-day research with this peptide to inspect its effectiveness and morbidity in the long run. The findings are published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.