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How Gold Salts Ease Pain Of
edited by Joint-Pain-Forum.com
at Duke University Medical Center may have solved the mystery
surrounding the healing properties of gold -- a discovery they say may
renew interest in gold salts as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
and other inflammatory diseases.
used injections of gold salts in the early 1900s to ease the pain and
swelling associated with arthritis. But treatment came at a high cost:
The shots took months to take effect and side effects included rashes,
mouth sores, kidney damage and occasionally, problems with the bone
marrow's ability to make new blood cells. Recently, new treatments like
methotrexate and biologically engineered drugs have replaced gold as a
preferred treatment, and gold salts, while remaining effective, are
usually administered as a last resort.
David Pisetsky, chief of the division of rheumatology and immunology in
the department of medicine at Duke, says "we shouldn't dismiss gold
salts so quickly. We scientists have really never understood why gold
works. Now that we have a better handle on its action, we may be able
to use that mechanism to create new and better gold-like drugs to treat
Pisetsky had long been interested in a
particular molecule, HMBG1, which provokes inflammation, the key
process underlying the development of rheumatoid arthritis. HMBG1 is a
dual-function molecule, which means that it behaves one way when it's
inside the nucleus of a cell, and quite another way when it's released
from the cell.
Pisetsky says that inside the
nucleus, HMGB1 is a key player in transcription, the process that
converts genetic information in DNA to its RNA equivalent. But when
HMGB1 is released from the cell -- either through normal processes or
cell death -- it becomes a stimulus to the immune system and enhances
"Interestingly, HMGB1 is not
produced evenly throughout the body," says Pisetsky.
is an unusually high amount of it in the synovial tissue and fluid
around the joints -- where arthritis occurs."
working with colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and the
Karolinska Institute in Sweden, stimulated mouse and human immune
system cells to secrete HMGB1, then treated them with gold salts. They
found that the gold blocked the release of HMGB1 from the nucleus.
That, in turn, should lessen the amount available to provoke the body's
immune system, weakening the inflammatory response.
keeping HMGB1 corralled inside the nucleus is a good thing, when it
comes to arthritis," says Pisetsky.
gold inhibits the release of HMGB1 by interfering with the activity of
two helper molecules that ease HMGB1's release from the cell,
interferon beta and nitric oxide.
The study will
appear in the January, 2008 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte
Biology, but a preprint is already online at the journal's
website at: http://tinyurl.com/3cd957.
that we have identified at least one of the ways gold can help
arthritis sufferers, perhaps we can use that knowledge to build new and
safer-acting, gold-based treatments," says Pisetsky, a senior author of
Pisetsky is encouraged by the results
but says additional studies need to be done to find out if the same
mechanism is active in animals and people and not just in laboratory
www.Joint-Pain-Forum.com from original press release.
Co-authors of the study include lead investigators Weiwen
Jiang, from Duke University, and Cecilia Zetterstrom, from the
Karolinska Institute; Heidi Wahamaa, Therese Ostberg, Ann-Charlotte
Aveberger, Hanna Schierback and Ufl Anderson from the Karolinska
Institute; Helena Erlandersson Harris, senior co-author, from the
Medicine and Rheumatology Unit of the Karolinksa University Hospital
and Michael Lotze, from the University of Pittsburgh.
for the study comes from the Karolinska Institute King Gustav V 80-year
Foundation, the Freemason Lodge Barnhuset in Stockholm, the Foundation
for Technical Support to Disabled, the Swedish Research Council, the
Swedish Rheumatism Association, the Lupus Research Institute, the VA
Medical Research Service and the National Institutes of Health.
Duke University Medical Center
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