The therapeutic potential of TNF-alpha blockade in rheumatoid arthritis

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2003 Jul;12(7):1087-95. doi: 10.1517/13543784.12.7.1087.


Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease characterised by inflammation of the synovial lining of joints and destruction of cartilage and bone. Many pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and growth factors are expressed in diseased joints, and recognition of the key role of TNF-alpha led to the development of highly effective new therapies. TNF-alpha inhibitors, such as monoclonal anti-TNF-alpha antibody infliximab (Remicade), have demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials. It is now clear that TNF-alpha blockade, in addition to reducing joint inflammation and leukocyte infiltration, also results in decreased formation of new blood vessels in the synovium. Such mechanism of action studies are now paving the way for the development of the next generation of drugs for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Blocking / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Blocking / therapeutic use
  • Antirheumatic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • Antibodies, Blocking
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha