New Class of Anti-Arthritis Drugs Can Cure Inflammatory Diseases: Study

First Posted: Jul 10, 2014 05:52 AM EDT

Researchers found a new class of anti-arthritis drugs that can treat various inflammatory diseases.

Medications for anti-arthritis such as dexamethasone are known to relieve one disease but worsen another, complicating the treatment.

However, the study published in the American Journal of Pathology found that the new class of drugs for arthritis, DTrp8-ɣMSH (Dtrp), acts via melanocotine (MC) system to reduce the arthritic joint inflammation and periodontitis. The study was conducted on mice models.

"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," said Mauro Perretti, PhD, of Queen Mary University of London, Barts, and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (UK), in a press release.

For over 60 years, adrenocorticotrophic hormones (ACTH) have effectively treated rheumatoid and gouty arthritis. Now, the anti-inflammatory actions of ACTH via the peripheral MC system on the MC receptor are effective on the bone cells, fibroblasts and immune cells; and this medication is well appreciated.

The researchers examined the mice induced with experimental arthritis also manifested bone loss. They compared the effect of peptide that selectively activates MC3 receptor in mice and then the effects of the medications were compared. They found that prolonged steroid therapy is linked with bone density loss, osteoporosis and fracture. The melanocortin based therapeutics could spare the unwanted reactions, said Dr Perretti.

Dr John L. Wallace of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Calgary mentions that anti-inflammatory mechanism like the MC system offer a number of advantages as it heals the injuries in the tissues and has very rare adverse side effects.

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