Rheumatoid arthritis can be considered as one of the family of 'angiogenesis dependent diseases'. Angiogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis is controlled by a variety of factors found in the synovial fluid and pannus tissue. Modulation of the angiogenic component of the disease may alter the pathogenesis of the condition, and subsequent cartilage and joint destruction, by reducing the area of the endothelium in the pannus and restricting pannus growth. Current therapeutic strategies exert, to varying extents, an inhibitory effect on the angiogenic process. In particular, the mode of action of the slow acting antirheumatic drugs may be due to their effect on the angiogenic response. The development of novel angiostatic treatments for chronic inflammatory joint disease may lead to a new therapeutic approach in controlling disease progression.
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