Objective: To study the antiinflammatory effect of different doses of intraarticular somatostatin in experimental arthritis in rabbits.
Methods: Chronic arthritis was induced by a single injection of fibrin into the knee joint of rabbits previously sensitized to this antigen. The effects of sequential intraarticular injections of somatostatin into the rabbit knee, at doses of 500, 750, and 1,000 micrograms, were monitored by measuring knee joint circumferences and hematologic parameters. The measurements were compared with those obtained following use of triamcinolone acetonide and placebo. At the end of the experiments, the knee joints were examined histologically.
Results: Somatostatin treatment induced a statistically significant and dose-related reduction of knee joint swelling. This effect was shorter than that produced by triamcinolone acetonide; however, the antiinflammatory activity elicited by successive doses of triamcinolone acetonide declined both in extent and duration, while the effects of somatostatin remained unchanged at each successive treatment. Histopathologic observations showed that both somatostatin and triamcinolone acetonide reduced the inflammatory signs in the joint structures, although triamcinolone acetonide appeared to be more effective.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that somatostatin exerts an antiinflammatory effect in this model of experimental arthritis and may represent a valid and safer alternative to corticosteroids for intraarticular therapy of arthritis.