Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New class of anti-arthritis drugs effectively treats multiple inflammatory diseases


Commonly prescribed anti-arthritics can exacerbate other inflammatory diseases like periodontitis, according to new research published in The American Journal of Pathology

Inflammatory diseases can occur simultaneously in distinct sites in the same patient, complicating treatment because a medication effective for one disorder may exacerbate the other. One such example is the anti-arthritic medication dexamethasone, which alleviates joint disease but can worsen periodontal bone disease.

A study in the August issue of The American Journal of Pathology highlights the effects of a new class of anti-arthritic drugs, specifically DTrp8-ɣMSH (DTrp), that acts via the melanocortin (MC) system to reduce both arthritic joint inflammation and periodontitis.

"This research, a joint program with the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, indicates that MC receptor agonists, possibly better if selective for MC3, represent a novel class of anti-arthritic therapeutics able to target joint disease without aggravating unwanted effects on distant organs and tissues," says Mauro Perretti, PhD, of Queen Mary University of London, Barts, and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (UK).

More than 60 years ago, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) was shown to be effective for treating rheumatoid and gouty arthritis, yet its current clinical use is very sporadic. It is now appreciated that some of the anti-inflammatory actions of ACTH are mediated via the peripheral MC system on MC receptors expressed in bone cells, fibroblasts, and immune cells.

Research has shown that activation of MC receptors by ACTH or other MC peptides can lead to a variety of protective actions against bone loss, including increased matrix deposition, reduced osteoclast activation, and enhanced proliferation of bone-forming cells.

In this study, researchers first determined whether mice that were induced with experimental arthritis also manifested bone loss in the alveolar (tooth socket) bone. They found that bone loss in the jaw correlated with the severity of localized inflammation in the joints of the mice.

They next compared the effects of a peptide that selectively activates MC3 receptors in mice on both arthritis and alveolar bone loss, and compared the effects to other known medications. The glucocorticoid dexamethasone exerted potent anti-arthritic effect, which were, however, inversely correlated with protection against bone loss.

This was markedly distinct from the effect seen with DTrp, which showed a highly positive correlation between clinical score and bone loss (ie reduced bone loss associated with better anti-arthritic effect). Calcitonin had little effect on arthritis but did protect against alveolar bone loss. "This finding is of relevance as prolonged steroid therapy is associated with bone density loss, osteoporosis, and fractures; melanocortin-based therapeutics could spare these unwanted actions," says Dr. Perretti.

"DTrp could be viewed as a starting point for a new class of bone-sparing anti-arthritic agents," says John L. Wallace, PhD, MBA, of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada and University of Toronto, in a commentary on these findings. "This study highlights the continued value of simpler and cheaper (for both the maker and the end-user) approaches to drug development, harnessing the potential of endogenous anti-inflammatory mechanisms."

According to Dr. Wallace, drugs that harness endogenous anti-inflammatory mechanisms like the MC system offer a number of advantages: they produce a wide range of anti-inflammatory effects, promote the healing of injured tissue, and are potentially associated with very few adverse effects. He comments that these medications "hold out significant promise for safely treating a wide range of inflammatory disorders including, like MC3 agonists, co-existing inflammatory diseases in the same patient."

Eileen Leahy | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>