Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type





College of Natural and Health Sciences

Primary Advisor

Dr. Aimee Franklin


Rheumatoid arthritis is the most prevalent autoimmune disease. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has no cure, and the direct cause of the disease is still unknown. The two leading hypotheses concerning its etiology are based on the effects of HLA-DRB1 gene expression, and cigarette smoke. Conjunctively, the use of vaping devices amongst adolescents has increased significantly since introduced in 2007. There is no long-term data on the effects of e-vapor and its aerosols on bodily health. Cigarette smoke is the most noteworthy environmental factor contributing to RA therefore the question is raised as to whether or not vaping relates to rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility. This extended literature review focused on the current knowledge of RA, as well as cigarette smoke and its role in rheumatoid arthritis pathogenicity. An experimental proposal is also described which analyzes the effects of e-vapor on collagen induced arthritis mouse models. HLA-DRB1 gene expression, autoantibody proliferation and rheumatoid arthritis symptomology were investigated in acute and chronic RA mouse models. Ideally, these experiments would clarify the potential effects of vaping in regard to RA and provide significant insight for future generations.