OBJECTIVE: New ways of supplementary or combinatory therapy of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are of great importance. The aim is to find an additive to classical RA therapy with natural molecules without side effects possessing anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. In this study we investigated the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of the endogenous natural compound carnosine (CARN) in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, we tested also the inhibitory properties of the drug methotrexate (MTX) on dynamic viscosity of hyaluronan (HA) solutions in the same manner.
METHODS: For in vitro testing of the inhibitory properties of CARN against degradation of HA solutions, we used the model of degradation of hyaluronan (HA) induced by free radicals. Both substances, CARN and MTX, were compared to glutathione (GSH). Rotational viscometry was used in evaluation of protective properties of compounds studied. The ability of CARN to restore the redox imbalance occurring in adjuvant arthritis (AA) of rats was also tested. We monitored the effect of CARN on hind paw volume (HPV) and on the levels of protein carbonyls, and thiobarbituric acid reacting substances (TBARS) in AA.
RESULTS: In the reaction system with the prevalence of •OH and/or peroxy-type radicals, CARN in 200 μmol/L concentration tested was shown to exert a protective action on HA degradation. MTX was less effective than CARN in preventing HA degradation. Its ability to protect HA against radical degradation was evident only at the highest concentration of 400 μmol/L. In AA, carnosine significantly reduced TBARS and protein carbonyls in plasma, and also decreased the HPV of animals most effectively on the day 14.
CONCLUSIONS: CARN proved its inhibitory properties against degradation of HA solutions at experimental conditions in vitro and showed its beneficial efficiency in vivo. Moreover, it reduced also HPV, the clinical marker of inflammation in AA.