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OBJECTIVE: Endothelins (ETs) are involved in several inflammatory events. The present study investigated the efficacy of bosentan, a dual ETA/ETB receptor antagonist, in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice. TREATMENT: CIA was induced in DBA/1J mice. Arthritic mice were treated with bosentan (100 mg/kg) once a day, starting from the day when arthritis was clinically detectable. METHODS: CIA progression was assessed by measurements of visual clinical score, paw swelling and hypernociception. Histological changes, neutrophil infiltration and pro-inflammatory cytokines were evaluated in the joints. Gene expression in the lymph nodes of arthritic mice was evaluated by microarray technology. PreproET-1 mRNA expression in the lymph nodes of mice and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was evaluated by real-time PCR. The differences were evaluated by one-way ANOVA or Student's t test. RESULTS: Oral treatment with bosentan markedly ameliorated the clinical aspects of CIA (visual clinical score, paw swelling and hyperalgesia). Bosentan treatment also reduced joint damage, leukocyte infiltration and pro-inflammatory cytokine levels (IL-1β, TNFα and IL-17) in the joint tissues. Changes in gene expression in the lymph nodes of arthritic mice returned to the levels of the control mice after bosentan treatment. PreproET mRNA expression increased in PBMCs from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients but returned to basal level in PBMCs from patients under anti-TNF therapy. In-vitro treatment of PBMCs with TNFα upregulated ET system genes. CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that ET receptor antagonists, such as bosentan, might be useful in controlling RA. Moreover, it seems that ET mediation of arthritis is triggered by TNFα.

Original publication




Journal article


Inflamm Res

Publication Date





337 - 348


Adult, Animals, Antirheumatic Agents, Arthritis, Experimental, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Bosentan, Cells, Cultured, Cytokines, Endothelin Receptor Antagonists, Endothelin-1, Female, Gene Expression Profiling, Humans, Leukocytes, Mononuclear, Lymph Nodes, Male, Methotrexate, Mice, Mice, Inbred DBA, Middle Aged, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, RNA, Messenger, Sulfonamides