Reinterpreting Evidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis-Associated Interstitial Lung Disease to Understand Etiology

Author(s): Emily K. Wu, Robert D. Ambrosini, R. Matthew Kottmann, Christopher T. Ritchlin, Edward M. Schwarz, Homaira Rahimi*.

Journal Name: Current Rheumatology Reviews

Volume 15 , Issue 4 , 2019

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Graphical Abstract:


Abstract:

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is a well-known complication of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which often results in significant morbidity and mortality. It is often diagnosed late in the disease process via descriptive criteria. Multiple subtypes of RA-ILD exist as defined by chest CT and histopathology. In the absence of formal natural history studies and definitive diagnostics, a conventional dogma has emerged that there are two major subtypes of RA-ILD (nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP) and Usual Interstitial Pneumonia (UIP)). These subtypes are based on clinical experience and correlation studies. However, recent animal model data are incongruous with established paradigms of RA-ILD and beg reassessment of the clinical evidence in order to better understand etiology, pathogenesis, prognosis, and response to therapy. To this end, here we: 1) review the literature on epidemiology, radiology, histopathology and clinical outcomes of the various RAILD subtypes, existing animal models, and current theories on RA-ILD pathogenesis; 2) highlight the major gaps in our knowledge; and 3) propose future research to test an emerging theory of RAILD that posits initial rheumatic lung inflammation in the form of NSIP-like pathology transforms mesenchymal cells to derive chimeric disease, and subsequently develops into frank UIP-like fibrosis in some RA patients. Elucidation of the pathogenesis of RA-ILD is critical for the development of effective interventions for RA-ILD.

Keywords: Rheumatoid Arthritis-Associated Interstitial Lung Disease (RA-ILD), Nonspecific Interstitial Pneumonia (NSIP), Usual Interstitial Pneumonia (UIP), Computed Tomography (CT), Histology, inflammation, fibrosis, animal models.

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VOLUME: 15
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