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Arthritis Res Ther. 2013 Aug 14;15(4):R85. doi: 10.1186/ar4265.

Double-antiangiogenic protein DAAP targeting vascular endothelial growth factor A and angiopoietins attenuates collagen-induced arthritis.



Angiogenesis plays a critical role in synovial inflammation and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and angiopoietins are two important mediators of synovial angiogenesis. We have previously developed a novel chimeric decoy receptor, namely, double-antiangiogenic protein (DAAP), which can both bind VEGF-A and angiopoietins and block their actions. This study was performed to evaluate the antiarthritic effect of DAAP and the combination effect with the tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) inhibitor in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA).


Recombinant DAAP, VEGF-Trap, Tie2-Fc and dimeric Fc proteins were produced and purified from CHO cells in large-scale bioreactors. CIA was induced in DBA/1 mice with type II collagen. The preventive effect of DAAP was determined and compared with other decoy receptors such as VEGF-Trap or Tie2-Fc, which block VEGF-A or angiopoietins, respectively. The clinical, radiographic, pathologic and immunohistochemical analyses were performed in CIA mice. The levels of matrix metalloprotease 3 (MMP-3) and interleukin 1β (IL-1β) were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) mRNA levels were measured by polymerase chain reaction. Finally, we investigated the combination effects of DAAP with a low dose of TNF-α decoy receptor (etanercept 10 mg/kg).


On the basis of clinical and radiographic evaluation, DAAP had a much greater inhibitory effect than VEGF-Trap or Tie2-Fc on arthritis severity and bone destruction. These inhibitory effects were accompanied by significantly diminishing pathologic abnormalities, CD31-positive vasculature and synovial infiltration by F4/80-positive macrophages. The levels of MMP-3, IL-1β and RANKL were much lower in the DAAP-injected group than those of the control. Furthermore, DAAP showed a therapeutic effect and a combination effect with etanercept when injected after arthritis onset in established CIA.


DAAP has not only potent prophylactic effects on both inflammation and bone destruction but also therapeutic effects, alone and in combination with a TNF-α inhibitor in CIA mice. These results suggest that DAAP could be used as an effective new therapeutic agent for RA.

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