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Open Access Research article

Quantitative gait analysis as a method to assess mechanical hyperalgesia modulated by disease-modifying antirheumatoid drugs in the adjuvant-induced arthritic rat

Shabana Usman Simjee1*, Huma Jawed1, Javeria Quadri2 and Sheikh Arshad Saeed2

Author Affiliations

1 HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi 75270, Pakistan

2 Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research, International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi 75270, Pakistan

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2007, 9:R91  doi:10.1186/ar2290

Published: 11 September 2007

Abstract

In the present study, azothioprine, chloroquine, D-penicillamine, methotrexate and sodium aurothiomalate (gold salt) were evaluated for possible disease-modifying effects in the adjuvant-induced arthritis model of human rheumatoid arthritis in rats. Gait analysis was used to examine the role of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs in the development of pain. Body weights were also measured to monitor the progression of disease and the systemic antiarthritic effects of the test compounds used in this study, as well as their systemic toxicity. Our results showed that azothioprine (5 mg/kg/day), chloroquine (12.5 mg/kg/day), sodium aurothiomalate (2.5 mg/kg/day) and methotrexate (1 mg/kg/week) not only inhibited the macroscopic changes such as erythema and swelling of limbs, but also exhibited significant reversal of gait deficits seen in the untreated or saline-treated arthritic rats. No reduction in the body weights were observed in the arthritic rats treated with azothioprine, chloroquine, sodium aurothiomalate and methotrexate. D-Penicillamine (12.5 mg/kg/day), however, showed a significant reduction (P < 0.03) in the body weights of the arthritic rats over a period of 22 days; furthermore, it was unable to show any reduction in arthritic score (P < 0.1). In earlier experiments, chloroquine and methotrexate failed to suppress carageenan-induced edema, suggesting that the mode of antiarthritic action may be different from those of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Since these disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are reported to have an immunomodulatory role, especially the gold salt, which influences the monocyte–macrophage system, it is suggested that the observed antiarthritic effects of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs may be partly attributed to their immunomodulatory activity.