Author(s): Ceponis A, Waris E, Mnkknen J, Laasonen L, Hyttinen M,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To assess the clinical and histologic effects of an intraarticular application of low-dose (non-cytotoxic) liposomal clodronate in established antigen-induced monarthritis (AIA) in rabbits. METHODS: AIA was monitored by assessments of joint swelling, C-reactive protein levels, and radiographic changes in 17 NZW rabbits for 8 weeks during the course of weekly intraarticular injections of liposomal clodronate (0.145 mg/injection, low dose) or "empty" liposomes. The contralateral knee was injected with liposome buffer alone as the control. End-point analyses included macroscopic joint examination, immuno- and TUNEL staining, Safranin O staining/microspectrophotometry, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) convertase enzyme (TACE) inhibition assay. RESULTS: Liposomal clodronate-treated rabbits showed a reduction and delay in joint swelling during the first 3 injections. Expression of matrix-bound (solubilized) TNFalpha, lining cell hyperplasia, and levels of RAM-11+ macrophages were low in the synovium of the liposomal clodronate treatment group, but the proportion of apoptotic lining cells was not affected. The radiologic score was low at the end of weeks 2 and 4, but at 8 weeks, no difference, compared with controls, was found in pannus formation or in the extent of joint erosion; also, joint swelling was higher than before initiation of treatment. Injections of liposomal clodronate prevented cartilage proteoglycan loss, which was significant in the superficial zone only. TACE activity was not inhibited by clodronate. CONCLUSION: Liposomal clodronate had temporary antiinflammatory and antierosive effects on established AIA in rabbits. Over the long-term, the loss of cartilage proteoglycans was halted. This observed treatment effect may be related to the inhibition of TNFalpha production and processing in the synovium.
This article was published in Arthritis Rheum
and referenced in Journal of Arthritis