WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Oral type II collagen (CII) therapy appears to reduce the autoimmune process of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and promote clinical improvement.
Autoantibodies to CII, a cartilage-specific protein, have been found in the sera of JRA patients. By mimicking this protein, oral bovine CII therapy may serve as a tolerogen that attenuates the autoimmune process in these patients, Dr. L. K. Myers, from the University of Tennessee in Memphis, and colleagues explain in the August issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism.
Dr. Myers' team assessed the clinical outcomes and T-cell cytokine profiles of nine JRA patients who were treated with oral bovine CII for 3 months. The patients, who were 3 to 15 years of age, included seven with rheumatoid factor-negative JRA with polyarticular disease and two with pauciarticular disease. Two patients had disease exacerbations when treatment was discontinued, so therapy was restarted for an additional 3 months.
Eight of the 11 treatment courses were associated with a clinical improvement, the authors state. Six of the eight patients who responded clinically had a decrease in interferon-gamma levels. Of the seven patients who had detectable levels of transforming growth factor beta-3 mRNA, six showed an increase after receiving CII therapy. No side effects were noted with CII therapy in any of the patients.