Direct Angiogenesis Inhibition Shows Promise in Rheumatoid Arthritis

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 04 – Direct angiogenesis inhibition by application of a soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) chimeric protein might be of use in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to Japanese researchers.
Dr. Tomohisa Sekimoto, of Miyazaki Medical College, and colleagues note that a characteristic feature of the condition is "hyperplasia of synovial cells with angiogenesis." Furthermore, reports suggest that "angiogenesis precedes all other features in early RA."

To determine whether VEGF activity might be directly blocked and thus angiogenesis downregulated, the researchers studied cultures of synovial cells from RA patients and controls. The findings were published in the February issue of The Journal of Rheumatology.

Compared to controls, endothelial cells from patients with active RA had a high angiogenic growth capacity. However, when VEGFR1-Fc (VEGFR1 fused to the Fc portion of human IgG1) was added to the cultures, proliferation was "strongly suppressed" in a dose-dependent manner. …

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