Coeliac disease and rheumatoid arthritis: similar mechanisms, different antigens

Frits Koning, Ranjeny Thomas, Jamie Rossjohn, Rene E M Toes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and coeliac disease are inflammatory diseases that both have a strong association with class II HLAs: individuals carrying HLA-DQ2.5 and/or HLA-DQ8 alleles have an increased risk of developing coeliac disease, whereas those carrying HLA-DR shared epitope alleles exhibit an increased risk of developing RA. Although the molecular basis of the association with specific HLA molecules in RA remains poorly defined, an immune response against post-translationally modified protein antigens is a hallmark of each disease. In RA, understanding of the pathogenetic role of B-cell responses to citrullinated antigens, including vimentin, fibrinogen and alpha-enolase, is rapidly growing. Moreover, insight into the role of HLAs in the pathogenesis of coeliac disease has been considerably advanced by the identification of T-cell responses to deamidated gluten antigens presented in conjunction with predisposing HLA-DQ2.5 molecules. This article briefly reviews these advances and draws parallels between the immune mechanisms leading to RA and coeliac disease, which point to a crucial role for T-cell-B-cell cooperation in the development of full-blown disease. Finally, the ways in which these novel insights are being exploited therapeutically to re-establish tolerance in patients with RA and coeliac disease are described.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450 - 461
Number of pages12
JournalNature Reviews Rheumatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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