Send to

Choose Destination
Rheumatology (Oxford). 2007 Dec;46(12):1824-7.

Blockade of tumour necrosis factor-alpha in rheumatoid arthritis: effects on components of rheumatoid cachexia.

Author information

School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall, West Midlands, UK.



Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is accompanied by increased resting energy expenditure (REE) and decreased fat-free mass (FFM). This is referred to as rheumatoid cachexia and is attributed to high levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). This study aimed to investigate the effects of anti-TNF-alpha therapy on REE, body composition, physical activity and protein intake in RA patients.


Twenty RA patients [50% female; age: (mean +/- s.d.) 61.1 +/- 6.8 yrs; body mass index (BMI): 28.3 +/- 3.7 kg/m2] and 12 age-sex-BMI-matched healthy controls were assessed. REE (indirect calorimetry), body composition (bioelectrical impedance), the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), diet, Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), disease activity [disease activity score 28 (DAS28), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein] and serum TNF-alpha were measured before (Baseline) as well as 2 weeks (Time-1) and 12 weeks (Time-2) after initiation of anti-TNF-alpha treatment. Controls were only assessed at Baseline.


RA patients had significantly higher REE than controls at Baseline (1799.4 +/- 292.0 vs 1502.9 +/- 114.5 kcal/day, P = 0.002). Within the RA group, REE increased significantly between Time-1 and Time-2 (P = 0.001) but not between Baseline and Time-2. Sustained significant increases were observed in IPAQ (P = 0.001) and protein intake (P = 0.001). There were no significant changes in FFM or body fat. ESR (P = 0.002), DAS28 (P < 0.001), HAQ (P < 0.001) and TNF-alpha (P = 0.024) improved significantly. Physical activity (P = 0.001) and protein intake (P = 0.024) were significant between-subject factors for the elevation of REE.


After 12 weeks of anti-TNF-alpha therapy, there were significant improvements in disease activity and physical function, as well as physical activity and protein intake, but no significant changes in REE or FFM. There is a need for longer-term studies in this field.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center