Etanercept, a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor, is an effective drug for patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and nitrotyrosine (NT) are pro-inflammatory biomolecules associated with satiety and increased body weight. We evaluated whether MCP-1 and NT are associated with decreased inflammation or increased body mass during etanercept therapy in active RA patients.
RA patients with moderate to high disease activity were enrolled to receive add-on etanercept (25 mg subcutaneous injection, biweekly) for at least one year, combined with sustained treatment with conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (csDMARDs).
Forty patients received add-on etanercept and 15 received DMARDs alone. At the end of one year, etanercept significantly reduced the disease activity score of 28 joints, C-reactive protein, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Moreover, etanercept significantly increased the body weight, body mass index (BMI), as well as MCP-1 and NT levels, compared to that in the csDMARD-only group.
Increased serum MCP-1 and NT levels in RA patients with moderate to high disease activity, who underwent one-year etanercept treatment, might be attributed to increase in body weight and BMI rather than induction of more severe autoimmune inflammation.
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