Oxygen metabolism has an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. A certain correlation was observed between oxidative stress, arthritis and the immune system. Reactive oxygen species produced in the course of cellular oxidative phosphorylation and by activated phagocytic cells during oxidative burst, exceed the physiological buffering capacity and result in oxidative stress. The excessive production of ROS can damage protein, lipids, nucleic acids, and matrix components. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have an altered antioxidant defense capacity barrier. In the present study the effect of substances with antioxidative properties, i.e. pinosylvin and carnosine, was determined in monotherapy for the treatment of adjuvant arthritis (AA). Moreover carnosine was evaluated in combination therapy with methotrexate. Rats with AA were administered first pinosylvin (30 mg/kg body mass daily per os), second carnosine (150 mg/kg body mass daily per os) in monotherapy for a period of 28 days. Further, rats with AA were administered methotrexate (0.3 mg/kg body mass 2-times weekly per os), and a combination of methotrexate+carnosine, with the carnosine dose being the same as in the previous experiment. Parameters, i.e. changes in hind paw volume and arthritic score were determined in rats as indicators of destructive arthritis-associated clinical changes. Plasmatic levels of TBARS and lag time of Fe2+- induced lipid peroxidation (tau-FeLP) in plasma and brain were specified as markers of oxidation. Plasmatic level of CRP and activity of γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT) in spleen and joint were used as inflammation markers. In comparison to pinosylvin, administration of carnosine monotherapy led to a significant decrease in the majority of the parameters studied. In the combination treatment with methotrexate+carnosine most parameters monitored were improved more remarkably than by methotrexate alone. Carnosine can increase the disease-modifying effect of methotrexate treatment in rat AA.
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