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Int J Clin Rheumtol. 2014;9(3):295-309.

The lung may play a role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.

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University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA ; National Jewish Health, Denver, CO, USA.
National Jewish Health, Denver, CO, USA.
University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA.


Multiple studies have identified strong associations between the lung and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Such studies identify a high prevalence of lung disease, both airways and parenchymal disease, in subjects with clinically classifiable RA. It has been suggested that lung disease in RA results from targeting of the lung from circulating autoimmunity or other factors such as medications. However, findings that lung disease, specifically inflammatory airways disease, and lung generation of autoimmunity can be present before the onset of joint symptoms suggest that immune reactions in the lung may be involved in the initial development of RA-related autoimmunity. Herein we review these issues in detail, as well as outline a potential research agenda to understand the natural history of lung involvement in RA and its relation to the overall pathogenesis of RA.


lung disease; pathogenesis; preclinical autoimmunity; rheumatoid arthritis

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