Long-term anti-arthritic and anti-osteoporotic effects of raloxifene in established experimental postmenopausal polyarthritis

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SummaryBoth oestrogen deficiency and the inflammatory disease contribute to the generalized bone loss seen in postmenopausal rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Oestradiol and the selective oestrogen receptor modulator raloxifene have been shown to ameliorate the disease in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), a well-established animal model for human RA. The aim of this study was to investigate whether raloxifene-treatment would be beneficial in long-term treatment of established CIA, both regarding anti-arthritic and anti-osteoporotic properties. Female dilute brown agouti mice were ovariectomized and CIA was induced. Raloxifene or vehicle treatment was administered 5 days per week, and the clinical arthritis score was evaluated continuously. At termination, bone mineral density was analysed, paws were collected for histological examination and sera were analysed for markers of bone and cartilage turnover, as well as antibodies to type II collagen and levels of interleukin (IL)-6. Treatment with raloxifene is beneficial in long-term treatment of established CIA. It hampers the disease severity and frequency, protects the joints from destruction and protects against the development of osteoporosis. The proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 was down-regulated in raloxifene-treated mice compared with controls. The serum levels of antibodies to collagen were not affected by raloxifene-treatment. Long-term treatment with raloxifene has both anti-arthritic and anti-osteoporotic effects in established experimental postmenopausal polyarthritis.

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