OBJECTIVES--Elcatonin (eCT), an eel calcitonin derivative, is shown to considerably improve the clinical signs and symptoms, as well as laboratory data, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The therapeutic efficacy of eCT, however, is reduced by preceding and/or concomitant use of corticosteroid. Thus the effects of eCT on the production of immunoglobulins, IgMRF and interleukin-1 (IL-1) by mononuclear cells (MNCs)/monocytes were studied, and compared among patients with RA that received three kinds of treatment and also normal volunteers (NV). METHODS--Ten patients with RA had been treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug only (NSAID group), 11 with oral prednisolone (PSL group), and eight with intramuscular eCT (eCT group). MNCs/monocytes from these patients, and also 10 from the NV group, were collected and cultured. IgG, IgA, IgM, IgMRF, IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta in the supernatants were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In the NSAID, PSL and NV groups, eCT was added to the culture medium, and the effects of eCT on production of these substances were studied. RESULTS--Baseline production of IgM, IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta by MNCs/monocytes in the eCT and NV groups was significantly lower than that in the NSAID group. Furthermore, addition of eCT to the culture medium significantly inhibited the productions of IgG, IgMRF, IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta by MNCs/monocytes in the NSAID group, whereas production of neither IgG, IgA, IgM, IgMRF nor IL-1 by MNCs/monocytes in the PSL and NV groups was affected by eCT. CONCLUSION--eCT may regulate immune responses through MNC/monocyte function in patients with RA. The present results support our proposal that eCT is an effective agent for the treatment of RA.
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