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Cytokine. 2005 Aug 21;31(4):298-304.

Influence of bisphosphonates on the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by activated human articular chondrocytes.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Allergology and Rheumatology, University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerp, Belgium.


Bisphosphonates have anti-inflammatory effects in rheumatoid arthritis and chondroprotective effects in animal arthritis models but their influence on chondrocytes is not known. The aim of this study is to investigate whether bisphosphonates could influence the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by activated chondrocytes. Therefore human articular cartilage explants were incubated at 48 h with clodronate, pamidronate or risedronate (10(-6) and 10(-8)mol/L), and dexamethasone (10(-8)mol/L). Subsequently, cultures were stimulated with IL-1, 10 ng/mL (n=6) or 1 ng/mL (n=10) for 48 h. Co-incubation was performed with or without bisphosphonates or dexamethasone. A flow cytometric microsphere-based immunoassay was used for the detection of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-8, TNF-alpha, IL-1 and the regulatory cytokines IL-12p70 and IL-10 in the supernatants. Stimulation with IL-1 resulted in a dose dependent induction of IL-6 and IL-8, but no production of the other cytokines could be demonstrated. This production of IL-6 and IL-8 was neither inhibited nor enhanced by bisphosphonates. Only dexamethasone caused an inhibition of IL-6 production. In conclusion, there is no evidence on the level of articular cartilage cells that bisphosphonates would suppress or enhance IL-6 and IL-8 mediated joint destruction.

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