Background Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) play an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Mononuclear cells activation, circulation and migration to inflammatory sites are regulated by adhesion molecules like intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) or E-selectin.
Objectives The aim of the study was to analyse serum concentrations of soluble adhesion molecules in patients with early RA before, and after 6 months treatment with methotrexate (MTX).
Methods We studied 32 RA patients, untreated with disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or corticosteroids, with disease duration less than 3 years. Twenty osteoarthritis (OA) patients constituted a control group. The analysis of serum levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1) and E-selectin (sE-selectin) was based on a quantitative sandwich ELISA.
Results In compassion with OA patients higher serum concentrations of sICAM (p<0.01), sVCAM-1 (p<0.01) and sE-selectin (p<0.05) were observed in untreated patients with early RA. Six months treatment with MTX down-regulated serum concentrations of sICAM-1, sVCAM-1 and sE-selectin (in all cases p<0.001) in studied RA patients. Furthermore, MTX treatment was followed by the decrease in the clinical markers of the RA activity such as the number of painful and swollen joints, ESR, disease activity score (DAS) and CRP levels.
Conclusions Patients with early RA are characterized by high serum concentrations of sICAM-1, sVCAM-1 and sE-selectin. Therapy with MTX resulted in clinical improvement and diminished serum levels of soluble adhesion molecules in studied RA patients confirming effectiveness of MTX in early stages of the disease.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared