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Arthritis Rheum. 1999 Mar;42(3):545-54.

Diacerhein treatment reduces the severity of osteoarthritis in the canine cruciate-deficiency model of osteoarthritis.

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1
Rheumatology Division, Indiana University School of Medicine, and Indiana University Multipurpose Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases Center, Indianapolis 46202-5103, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine if diacerhein protects against the early stages of joint damage in a canine model of osteoarthritis (OA).

METHODS:

OA was induced in 20 adult mongrel dogs by transection of the anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee. Beginning the day after surgery, dogs in the active treatment group were dosed twice a day with capsules of diacerhein, providing a total daily dose of 40 mg/kg, for 32 weeks. Dogs in the control group received placebo capsules on the same schedule. Pathology in the unstable knee was assessed arthroscopically 16 weeks after surgery and by direct observation when the dogs were killed 32 weeks after surgery. The severity of gross joint pathology was recorded, and samples of the medial femoral condyle cartilage and the synovial tissue adjacent to the central portion of the medial meniscus were collected for histologic evaluation. Water content and uronic acid concentration of the articular cartilage from the femoral condyle were determined, and collagenolytic activity in extracts of cartilage pooled from the medial and lateral tibial plateaus was assayed against 14C-labeled collagen fibers.

RESULTS:

Diacerhein treatment slowed the progression of OA, as measured by grading of gross changes in the unstable knee at arthroscopy 16 weeks after cruciate ligament transection (P = 0.04) and at the time the animals were killed, 32 weeks after surgery (P = 0.05). However, 32 weeks after ACL transection, the mean proteoglycan concentration and water content of the OA cartilage and the level of collagenolytic activity in extracts of the cartilage were not significantly different in the diacerhein treatment group than in the placebo treatment group.

CONCLUSION:

Diacerhein treatment significantly reduced the severity of morphologic changes of OA compared with placebo. These findings support the view that diacerhein may be a disease-modifying drug for OA.

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