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Clin Exp Immunol. 2015 Nov;182(2):154-61. doi: 10.1111/cei.12685. Epub 2015 Aug 31.

Blockade of interleukin-6 receptor enhances the anti-arthritic effect of glucocorticoids without decreasing bone mineral density in mice with collagen-induced arthritis.

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Product Research Department, Fuji-Gotemba Research Laboratories, Chugai Pharmaceutical Company Ltd, Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan.


In a mouse arthritis model, we investigated whether interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) blockade would enhance the anti-arthritic effect of glucocorticoids (GCs). DBA/1J mice were immunized with type II collagen (CII), and were treated with prednisolone (PSL) and/or anti-mouse IL-6R antibody (MR16-1). Also, the effects of IL-6 on gene expression and the nuclear translocation of glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) were examined in cultured cells treated with dexamethasone (DEX). PSL reduced the arthritis score dose-dependently in the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mouse model. The arthritis score in the PSL (3 mg/kg) + MR16-1 group was lower than in the PSL (3 mg/kg) group, and at the same level as in the PSL (6 mg/kg) group. Lumbar vertebra bone mineral density (BMD) was decreased significantly in CIA mice and was higher in the PSL (3 mg/kg) + MR16-1 group than in the PSL (6 mg/kg) group. In the in-vitro synovial cells, IL-6 pretreatment attenuated the inhibitory effect of DEX on cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression and inhibited the nuclear translocation of GR induced by DEX. In contrast, in MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells, IL-6 pretreatment exacerbated the decrease in expression of osteocalcin and the increase in expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) by DEX. We demonstrated that IL-6 signalling blockade by an anti-IL-6R antibody can augment the anti-arthritic effect of GCs and inhibit the bone loss they cause.


collagen-induced arthritis; glucocorticoid; interleukin-6

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