TNFα regulates cortisol metabolism in vivo in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
Nanus DE., Filer AD., Hughes B., Fisher BA., Taylor PC., Stewart PM., Buckley CD., McInnes I., Cooper MS., Raza K.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationship between inflammation and glucocorticoid metabolism in vivo, in a clinical study of patients with inflammatory arthritis treated with anti-TNFα therapy. METHODS: Urine samples were collected from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) as part of a multicentre study assessing responses to infliximab and etanercept. Systemic measures of glucocorticoid metabolism were assessed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry at weeks 0 (baseline), 4 and 12 after anti-TNFα therapy. Clinical data including DAS28 and C-reactive protein were also collected. RESULTS: Systemic measures of 11β-HSD1 activity in patients with inflammatory arthritis decreased significantly following anti-TNFα therapy in patients with RA and PsA. Additionally, the activity of the glucocorticoid inactivating enzyme 5α-reductase appeared to increase significantly. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates, for the first time, that the increased 11β-HSD1 activity seen in patients with inflammatory arthritis is mediated through TNFα. Furthermore, the changes in related glucocorticoid metabolising enzymes suggest that there is a coordinated change in glucocorticoid metabolism which promotes higher tissue glucocorticoid levels.