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Rheumatol Int. 2010 May;30(7):917-23. doi: 10.1007/s00296-009-1075-4. Epub 2009 Jul 29.

Tocilizumab, a humanized anti-interleukin-6 receptor antibody, improved anemia in monkey arthritis by suppressing IL-6-induced hepcidin production.

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Product Research Department, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co, Ltd, 1-135 Komakado, Gotemba, Shizuoka, 412-8513, Japan.


We have reported that serum IL-6 level was related with the degree of anemia in monkey collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). In this study, we examined whether IL-6 blockade ameliorated an anemia in monkey CIA. CIA was induced by twice immunization of bovine type II collagen with adjuvant. When anemia became evident, anti-IL-6 receptor antibody, tocilizumab was intravenously injected once a week for 4 weeks. Controls received PBS in a same manner. Hematological and biochemical parameters were measured regularly and serum hepcidin-25 levels were measured by SELDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Moreover, hepcidin mRNA induction in Hep3B cells by serum from arthritic monkeys was examined by real-time PCR. Administration of tocilizumab rapidly decreased CRP levels and improved iron-deficient anemia within 1 week. Tocilizumab induced rapid but transient reduction in serum hepcidin-25. Hepcidin mRNA expression was more potently induced by serum from arthritic monkey and this was inhibited by the addition of tocilizumab. Blockade of IL-6 signaling rapidly improved anemia in monkey arthritis via the inhibition of IL-6-induced hepcidin production.

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