Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory joint diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). To determine the importance of this cytokine in vivo, the effect of administering VEGF-neutralizing antibodies to mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), which has many immunological and pathological similarities to human RA, has been investigated. Either saline, normal rabbit immunoglobulin or anti-human VEGF121 rabbit polyclonal antibody was administered to mice subcutaneously either before the onset of arthritis or after the establishment of clinical disease. Anti-VEGF antibody administered prior to disease onset significantly delayed the development of arthritis and decreased clinical score and paw thickness as well as histological severity. On the other hand, the frequency of occurrence of disease compared to either the control group administered saline or normal rabbit immunoglobulin was not altered. Anti-VEGF antibody also significantly ameliorated clinical and histological parameters even when administered after disease onset. These results indicate a possible therapeutical potential for anti-VEGF treatment in human arthritis.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.