Objective. Angiogenesis plays a part in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and nanogold inhibits the activity of an angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). We therefore investigated whether intraarticular delivery of nanogold ameliorates collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in rats. Methods. Binding of 13-nm nanogold to VEGF in human RA synovial fluid (SF) and its effects on RA SF-induced endothelial cell proliferation and migration were assessed. Nanogold was administered intraarticularly to rats with CIA before the onset of arthritis. Progression of CIA was monitored by measures of clinical, radiologic, and histologic changes. In addition, the microvessel density and extent of infiltrating macrophages as well as levels of tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in the ankle joints were determined. Results. Nanogold bound to VEGF in RA SF, resulting in inhibition of RA SF-induced endothelial cell proliferation and migration. Significant reductions in ankle circumference, articular index scores, and radiographic scores were observed in the nanogold-treated rats with CIA compared with their control counterparts. In addition, the histologic score (of synovial hyperplasia, cartilage erosion, and leukocyte infiltration), microvessel density, macrophage infiltration, and levels of TNFα and IL-1β were also significantly reduced in the ankle joints of nanogold-treated rats. Conclusion. Our results are the first to demonstrate that intraarticular administration of nanogold ameliorates the clinical course of CIA in rats. Nanogold exerted antiangiogenic activities and subsequently reduced macrophage infiltration and inflammation, which resulted in attenuation of arthritis. These results demonstrate proof of principle for the use of nanogold as a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of RA.
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