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Interleukin-23 in early disease development in rheumatoid arthritis

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OBJECTIVES: To investigate the levels of interleukin (IL)-23 in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (eRA) and the effect of anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF)-α treatment on IL-23 levels.

METHOD: Treatment-naïve eRA patients from the OPERA cohort were included (n = 151). Patients were randomized to methotrexate (MTX) plus adalimumab (ADA; n = 75) or MTX plus placebo-ADA (PLA; n = 76). Plasma samples were obtained at baseline and at months 3, 6, and 12 together with values for C-reactive protein (CRP), the 28-joint Disease Activity Score based on CRP (DAS28CRP), scores on the Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) and the Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI), visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain/fatigue/physician global and total Sharp/van der Heijde score (TSS). IL-23 was measured at each time point.

RESULTS: IL-23 levels decreased significantly in the ADA group from 20.6 pg/mL (IQR 13.1-32.7 pg/mL) at baseline to 18 pg/mL (IQR 7.2-25.0 pg/mL) at 12 months (p < 0.01). No significant decrease in IL-23 level was observed in the PLA group. No associations between baseline IL-23 levels and measures of disease activity (DAS28CRP, CRP, CDAI, or SDAI) at 12 or 24 months were present in the treatment groups. Baseline IL-23 correlated inversely with changes in TSS and symptom duration before diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data show increased baseline levels and a significant decrease in IL-23 levels in eRA patients treated with anti-TNF-α. The inverse correlation with duration of symptoms before diagnosis supports the importance of IL-23 in the preclinical disease development of RA.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Volume44
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)438-42
Number of pages5
ISSN0300-9742
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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