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Does Anti-TNF Therapy Control Ankylosis ?

In a complementary experiment, another sample of mice was induced with arthritis, using methylated bovine serum albumin. Four days later, these mice were given a single injection of etanercept. Three days later, on day seven, they were killed. Signs of arthritis were assessed and graded for cartilage destruction and bone erosion.

For the mice with induced arthritis, etanercept had a significant impact on disease severity, inhibiting inflammation and cartilage and bone destruction. For the mice with spontaneous arthritis, however, etanercept proved no more effective than placebo at inhibiting new cartilage or bone formation or ankylosis. What's more, TNFá-positive cells were observed in the joint capsule, adjacent blood vessels and in new cartilage.

"Our observations strengthen our hypothesis that new bone formation in SpA is clinically relevant and largely independent of inflammation," Dr. Luyten states. "Long-term results from clinical trials are required to corroborate this hypothesis in patients with SpA," he acknowledges, "and to define whether the process of ankylosis should become a separate therapeutic target."



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