Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease in which oxidative stress could play a substantial pathological role. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) has been known as a "universal" and "ideal" antioxidant. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of oral administration of Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) on lipid peroxidation and antioxidant biomarkers in Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. The study was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. 70 RA patients were randomized 1:1 to two groups using blocked randomization method and received 1200 mg/day ALA or placebo for 8 weeks. Fasting blood samples were obtained before and after the intervention to analyze total antioxidant capacity (TAC), antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and arylesterase (ARE) activities] and malondialdehyde (MDA). We observed significant increase in serum TAC (0.11 mmol/L; p=0.033) and ARE (13.76 U/mL; p=0.046) and significant decline in MDA (-0.36 nmol/L; p=0.002), in ALA group. However, these changes in ALA-treated group were not statistically significant when compared with placebo-treated group (p > 0.05). Also, within- and between-group differences of whole blood SOD and GSH-Px were not statistically significant (p > 0.05). In conclusion, unexpectedly, ALA therapy did not affect the oxidative status of RA patients in the present clinical trial. It seems that more comprehensive clinical trials in RA patients are still warranted to clarify the effectiveness of ALA which has been known as a potent antioxidant.
Keywords: Alpha-lipoic acid; Antioxidant; Inflammatory disease; Oxidative stress; Rheumatoid arthritis.