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Bortezomib Appears Promising for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Animal studies show significantly decreased disease severity

FRIDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib induces significant improvements, and even remission, in rheumatoid-like arthritis in an animal model, and might eventually be an effective treatment in humans, according to research published in the November issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Evangelia Yannaki, M.D., of the George Papanicolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki, Greece, and colleagues conducted a study of bortezomib in vitro (in splenocytes and fibroblast-like synoviocytes) and in vivo (in rats with induced arthritis) to assess its cellular inflammatory effects and its effect on disease remission. The study rats were exposed to Freund's complete adjuvant to cause the adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA); the cells used for the in vitro studies came from these animals.

In the splenocytes and fibroblast-like synoviocytes from the AIA rats, the researchers noted significant inhibitory and proapoptotic activity, as well as an altered cytokine pattern and decreased cellular invasiveness. In vivo, the AIA rats treated with bortezomib had significantly decreased disease severity, which was confirmed by computed tomography evidence of bone healing.

"Bortezomib seems to affect AIA in a pleiotropic manner by targeting inflammation, cell proliferation, apoptosis, bone disease, and Toll-like receptor expression. Bortezomib potentially represents an attractive therapeutic intervention in inflammatory conditions and a highly promising agent in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis that is worth exploring in a clinical setting," the authors write.

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