Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint disease that affects many joints. One of the suspected causes is the interaction of intestinal flora with a specific genetic predisposition.

Created 16 October 2020
Updated 28 October 2021
Actu PRO : Polyarthrite : le microbiote intestinal altéré dès les stades précoces

About this article

Created 16 October 2020
Updated 28 October 2021

Around 1% of the adult population suffers from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with women affected more frequently than men.

An autoimmune disease that progresses in flares

RA is an autoimmune disease that develops in flares that cause persistent inflammation in the joints, primarily in the feet and hands. Swelling, pain, and stiffness of the joints are the primary symptoms. Without medical treatment, RA spreads to new joints and progressively deforms or even destroys them.

A genetic predisposition paired with microbiota imbalance

Although there are genes for RA predisposition, they are not enough to cause the disease. They interact with environmental factors, among which the intestinal and buccal microbiota are increasingly being considered. Indeed, patients present microbial imbalances (dysbioses) very similar to those observed in patients affected by inflammatory bowel diseases and which diminish with treatment.

Probiotics as adjuvant therapy

No current treatment cures RA, but there are means of slowing its progression and relieving symptoms: pain medications, control therapy (immunosuppressors or biopharmaceuticals), rehabilitation (physical therapy, ergotherapy, balneotherapy, etc.). Probiotics have recently been used as supplemental therapy, which is considered a promising approach.