In a unique approach to inflammation research, a study by researchers at the UCSD School of Medicine shows that, in a model of rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation in the joints can be sensed and modulated by the central nervous system (CNS).
This is an entirely new approach. Instead of trying to block proteins at the actual site of disease such as for example the knee, it was considered that the central nervous system is a controlling influence for the body and can regulate peripheral inflammation and immune responses.
In a study it was observed that a brain enzyme( protein) is turned on, or activated, in the central nervous system during an episode of joint inflammation.
When this enzyme was prevented from working in the CNS but not throughout in the body, inflammation in the joints was significantly suppressed.
The research suggests that the CNS can profoundly influence immune responses, and may even contribute to understanding so-called placebo effects and the role of stress in inflammatory diseases.
This study is yet more evidence for a holistic approach to the management of arthritis.