Reducing osteoclasts and macrophages reduces damage in rheumatoid arthritis-affected joints
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes painful inflammation and damage of joints, perpetrated by cells called inflammatory macrophages and osteoclasts. In mice with RA-like disease, researchers targeted these cells for destruction with nanoparticles covered with anti-cancer drug celastrol. They also tested adding other molecules to the nanoparticles, including molecules to better target the cells for destruction and molecules that react with an enzyme present at high levels in inflamed joints. A month after injecting the different nanoparticles into the bloodstream of arthritic mice, ankle joints were imaged using micro-CT (pictured) and compared with healthy and untreated arthritic joints (top row, first and second). Of the different nanoparticles, the ones attached to molecules for better targeting of the cells and molecules that react with enzymes in inflamed joints produced the healthiest bones (bottom, right) with increased bone density and reduced damage. This makes them the frontrunner as a candidate for RA treatment.
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