Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by oral administration of bovine tracheal type II collagen
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We evaluated the efficacy and safety of orally administered bovine tracheal type II collagen (CGII) in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Twenty RA patients received 0.5 mg/day of CGII for 12 weeks. Eighteen of them had improvements in the clinical parameters studied (swollen and tender joint counts, 15-m walking time, duration of morning stiffness, and physician's global assessment of disease activity). Anti-CGII antibodies were positive in 57% and rheumatoid factor (RF) in 71% of the patients with a short history of RA (≤2 years), whereas only 23% of those with long histories (>2 years) presented autoantibodies to CGII and 38% had positive RF. After the treatment, four patients showed reduced RF levels and all those with detectable serum tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) experienced its return to normal or levels below those at study entry. Although a placebo effect cannot be discounted, the oral administration of bovine tracheal CGII induced clinical benefits in 90% of the patients, without the side effects usually associated with treatment. This is the first study showing that feeding CGII can induce reductions in RF and TNF-α. The data justify further controlled studies to assess the long-term efficacy of this treatment approach.
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