A study led by researchers at Montana State University revealed that a new chemical compound could potentially treat rheumatoid arthritis-related symptoms in an animal model. The study is entitled “Anti-Inflammatory Effects and Joint Protection in Collagen-Induced Arthritis after Treatment with IQ-1S, a Selective c-Jun N-Terminal Kinase Inhibitor” and was recently published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (JPET). “This journal is one of the top journals that reports new types of therapeutics that are being developed,” noted the study’s senior author Dr. Mark Quinn in a news release.
RA is an autoimmune disease that leads to chronic inflammation of the joints and other parts of the body due to an overreaction of the body’s own immune system, resulting in the attack of healthy tissues. The disease is estimated to affect 1.3 million individuals in the United States and can result in painful deformity and immobility of the fingers, wrists, ankles and feet.
A new type of drugs, known as biological drugs, has been developed as therapies for rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs are based on genetically engineered antibodies or proteins that can interfere with elements in the body’s immune system. In the specific case of rheumatoid arthritis, these biological drugs have been developed with the goal of interfering with signals that promote the inflammatory response. However, biological drugs can be expensive and some patients are non-responsive to them.
“There is a real need to develop new kinds of drugs that are different,” said Dr. Quinn. “They could be combined with other available drugs or replace drugs that aren’t working for patients.”
The research team had previously reported a new chemical compound (IQ-1S) effective against rheumatoid arthritis. In the present study, researchers assessed the role of this small-molecule compound in the disease context. Researchers found that IQ-1S was able to significantly inhibit the destruction of cartilage and bone, as well as reduce the disease severity in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis. IQ-1S was found to target specific kinase proteins called c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) responsible for stimulating destructive and inflammatory activities.
The team concluded that inhibition of JNK kinases with the chemical IQ-1S, resulted in a reduced inflammation in joint tissue and lymph nodes, and in a reduced loss of joint cartilage, suggesting that IQ-1S could represent a new therapeutic strategy for rheumatoid arthritis.