Antiinflammatory role of endomorphins in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and adjuvant-induced polyarthritis

RH Straub, C Wolff, A Fassold, R Hofbauer, A Chover-Gonzalez, LJ Richards, DS Jessop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Pain sensitization and the related secretion of neuropeptides from sensory nerve terminals are proinflammatory in osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and adjuvant-induced polyarthritis. In contrast, endogenous opioids such as the recently discovered endomorphins (EMs) are antiinflammatory. However, the role of endogenous EMs such as EM-1 and EM-2 has never been investigated in OA and RA. Methods We established a highly sensitive radioimmunoassay to detect EM-1 and EM-2. In patients with RA and patients with OA, immunohistochemistry for EM-1 and EM-2 was performed, and double-staining was used to identify EM-positive cells. The effects of EM-1 and EM-2 on the secretion of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-8 from human synovial tissue were studied by tissue superfusion, and the therapeutic effects of EM-1 were tested in a rat model of adjuvant-induced polyarthritis. Results EM-positive cells were located in the sublining area and vessel walls but were particularly evident in the highly inflamed lining area. Human macrophages, T cells, and fibroblasts stained positive for EMs. The synovial density of EM-positive cells was higher in patients with OA than in those with RA. EM-1 inhibited synovial secretion of IL-6 in patients with RA and secretion of IL-8 in patients with RA and those with OA (maximum 10-10M). EM-2 inhibited IL-8 secretion only from RA tissue (maximum 10-10M). In rats with adjuvant-induced polyarthritis, thymus, spleen, and synovial tissue contained significantly more EM-1 than was observed in controls. Rats with adjuvant-induced polyarthritis benefited from EM-1 treatment. Conclusion EM-1 had antiinflammatory effects in patients with OA or RA and in a model of adjuvant-induced polyarthritis. Local enhancement of EM-1 might be an interesting therapeutic option in different forms of arthritis.
Translated title of the contributionAntiinflammatory role of endomorphins in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and adjuvant-induced polyarthritis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456 - 466
Number of pages11
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Volume58 (2)
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Wiley


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