Acarbose has been found to decrease some inflammatory parameters in diabetic patients. This study aimed to examine the influence of acarbose on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk in diabetes mellitus (DM) patients and on the incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice. In a nationwide, matched case-control study, we identified 723 incident RA cases and selected 7,230 age-, sex- and RA diagnosis date-matched controls from all newly treated DM patients. We found that use of acarbose at > 16,950 mg per year was associated with a lower RA risk (odds ratio 0.60; 95% CI, 0.41-0.89). In the CIA mouse study, acarbose was orally administered from days -7 to 38 relative to type II collagen (CII) immunization. The results revealed that acarbose at the dose of 500 mg/kg/day attenuated the incidence and severity of arthritis and the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-17 in the paw tissues. Acarbose further decreased the productions of anti-CII-IgG, IL-17 and IFN-Î 3 by collagen-reactive lymph node cells. This work suggests that the use of acarbose decreased RA risk in DM patients and the incidence of CIA in mice. Acarbose also attenuated the severity of CIA via anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects.
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