Objective: To determine whether lactoferrin can modify articular inflammation in murine models of autoimmune and septic arthritis.
Methods: Collagen arthritis was induced in DBA/1 mice and Staphylococcus aureus septic arthritis in Swiss mice. Joints with established inflammation were injected periarticularly with 0.5 mg or 1 mg of human lactoferrin, and arthritis was monitored for 3 days.
Results: DBA/1 mice injected with lactoferrin showed significantly suppressed local inflammation for up to 3 days, achieving up to 71% of the effect of corticosteroid. Periarticular injection of 125I-lactoferrin confirmed that 25% of lactoferrin was retained in paws after 6 hours. Serum levels of interleukin-6, however, were not significantly reduced, suggesting a predominantly local antiinflammatory effect. Similarly, local, periarticular administration of lactoferrin into S aureus-infected Swiss mice significantly suppressed paw inflammation and did not enhance bacterial survival.
Conclusion: Lactoferrin may have clinical utility in reducing articular inflammation, particularly in septic arthritis, in which antiinflammatory effects may be achieved without promoting bacterial survival.