Objectives: The main goal of this work was to analyse how treatment intervention with tofacitinib prevents the early disturbances of bone structure and mechanics in the rat model of adjuvant-induced arthritis. This is the first study to access the impact of tofacitinib on the skeletal bone effects of inflammation.
Methods: Fifty Wistar rats with adjuvant-induced arthritis were randomly housed in experimental groups, as follows: non-arthritic healthy group (n = 20); arthritic non-treated group (n = 20); and 10 animals undergoing tofacitinib treatment. Rats were monitored during 22 days after disease induction for the inflammatory score, ankle perimeter and body weight. Healthy non-arthritic rats were used as controls for comparison. After 22 days of disease progression, rats were killed and bone samples collected for histology, micro-CT, three-point bending and nanoindentation analysis. Blood samples were also collected for quantification of bone turnover markers and systemic cytokines.
Results: At the tissue level, measured by nanoindentation, tofacitinib increased bone cortical and trabecular hardness. However, micro-CT and three-point bending tests revealed that tofacitinib did not reverse the effects of arthritis on the cortical and trabecular bone structure and on mechanical properties.
Conclusion: Possible reasons for these observations might be related to the mechanism of action of tofacitinib, which leads to direct interactions with bone metabolism, and/or to the kinetics of its bone effects, which might need longer exposure.