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Chicken capsules good for aching joints

Chicken collagen can provide relief from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms. A randomised, controlled trial, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, has found that Chicken type II collagen (CCII), a protein extracted from the cartilage of chicken breast, is a safe and effective treatment for RA.

Wei Wei, from Anhui Medical University, China, worked with a team of researchers to test the novel treatment by comparing it to the established antirheumatic drug methotrextate, in 503 RA patients.

Patients who received a 12-week course of CCII capsules showed significantly improved joint function, with fewer and milder adverse effects than those taking methotrexate. According to Wei, "We've shown that CCII is a promising alternative therapeutic strategy that may be used as a nutritional supplement against rheumatoid arthritis".

RA is an autoimmune disease caused by the body mounting a response against its own cartilage – the rubbery tissue, composed mainly of collagen, which cushions and lubricates joints. By dosing patients with collagen in the form of CCII capsules, the researchers believe that 'oral tolerance' can be developed. Wei said "Oral tolerance is a reduction in autoimmune activity caused by repeated dietary exposure to the offending substance. Treatment of autoimmune diseases by induction of oral tolerance is attractive because of the few side effects and easy clinical implementation of this approach. Indeed, our work confirms that treatment with oral CCII leads to improvement in arthritis with no significant side effects".

Notes to Editors:

1. A multicenter, double-blind, randomized, controlled phase III clinical trial of chicken type II collagen in rheumatoid arthritis
Wei Wei, Ling-Ling Zhang, Jian-Hua Xu, Feng Xiao, Chun-De Bao, Li-Qing Ni, Xing-Fu Li, Yu-Qiong Wu, Ling-Yun Sun, Rong-Hua Zhang, Bao-Liang Sun, Sheng-Qian Xu, Shuang Liu, Wei Zhang, Jie Shen, Hua-Xiang Liu and Ren-Cheng Wang

Arthritis Research & Therapy (in press)

2. Arthritis Research & Therapy is an international, peer-reviewed online and print journal, publishing original research, reviews, commentaries and reports. The major focus of the journal is in mechanisms of, and translational laboratory and clinical research into localised and systemic immune-inflammatory and degenerative diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Phase I, II and III clinical trials are also published.

3. BioMed Central ( is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

Graeme Baldwin | EurekAlert!
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