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The long preclinical phase of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), where some factors involved in RA pathogenesis circulate peripherally, raises concern of RA transmissibility through blood transfusion.1 Specifically, this possibility is suggested by murine RA models in which anticitrullinated peptide/protein antibodies may induce and enhance arthritis, and precursors of the RA-fibroblast-like synoviocyte cells may aggravate and spread the disease between joints.2 3
We used a large Danish–Swedish population-based research donations and transfusions database (SCANDAT2) with health register information on 1.5 million blood donors and 2.1 million recipients of their blood to investigate (1) RA occurrence in recipients of blood from donors who later developed RA and (2) clustering of RA among recipients of blood from individual donors, regardless of the donor’s RA status.4–6
We used two different approaches to analyse RA transmission. First, we identified all donors who developed RA after blood donation. For each of these index donors, we identified up to 10 donors matched on age, sex, county, date of first donation, number of donations and ABO blood group, who were free of RA at the date …
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