Effects of aging and cytokine blockade on inflammatory cachexia

B Fathalla, K Hamada, E Vannier, D Smith, C Edwards, R Roubenoff
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2004, 22 (1): 85-90

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the role of aging and specific cytokine blockade in the etiology of cachexia caused by adjuvant arthritis (AA), a model of cytokine-associated cachexia.

METHODS: AA was induced in Lewis rats using CFA. In Experiment 1, severity of AA and inflammatory cachexia was assessed in young (Y, age 2-6 months, n = 132) and old rats (O, age 18-22 months, n = 40). In Experiment 2, young rats were divided into 5 different intervention groups: Saline-injected (n = 66); CFA-injected (n = 78); CFA-injected and treated with IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra, n = 18); CFA-injected and treated with soluble TNF receptor type I (sTNFrI, n = 27); and CFA-injected and treated with both IL-1Ra and sTNFrI (both treatments, n = 8).

RESULTS: In Experiment 1, young Lewis rats developed more severe arthritis (mean joint score on day 21 = 5.1 +/- 0.3) compared to the old group (0.6 +/- 0.6, p < 0.0001). The young group with AA lost 2.1% of baseline total body weight loss compared to 13.8% total body weight gain in controls (p < 0.0001). In contrast, old rats injected with CFA lost as much weight (-11%) as age-matched saline injected controls (-13%, p > 0.05, n = 18, age 18-22 months). In Experiment 2, mean joint scores in rats treated with IL-1Ra, sTNFrI or both were higher then untreated rats injected with CFA (p < 0.0001). Despite this, rats given both IL-1Ra and sTNFrI lost less weight on day 16 (p < 0.01) and 21 (p < 0.002) than untreated rats or those rats treated with either IL-1Ra or sTNFrI.

CONCLUSION: Lewis rats aged 2-6 months are more susceptible to developing AA than older rats (age range 18-22 months). Inhibition of both IL-1 and TNF is needed to mitigate AA-associated weight loss, and this effect is dissociated from the effect of such inhibition on joint inflammation.

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