Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Gold Salts Ease Pain Of Arthritis And Other Inflammatory Diseases

Date:
October 22, 2007
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Scientists 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.

Scientists 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.

Related Articles


Physicians first 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.

But Dr. 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 arthritis."

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 inflammation.

"Interestingly, HMGB1 is not produced evenly throughout the body," says Pisetsky.

"There is an unusually high amount of it in the synovial tissue and fluid around the joints -- where arthritis occurs."

Pisetsky, 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.

"Basically, keeping HMGB1 corralled inside the nucleus is a good thing, when it comes to arthritis," says Pisetsky.

Pisetsky says 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.

"Now 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 the study.

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 studies.

The study will appear in the January, 2008 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, but will be available ahead of print on the journal's website.

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.

Support 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "How Gold Salts Ease Pain Of Arthritis And Other Inflammatory Diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022153109.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2007, October 22). How Gold Salts Ease Pain Of Arthritis And Other Inflammatory Diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022153109.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "How Gold Salts Ease Pain Of Arthritis And Other Inflammatory Diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022153109.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) UN Resident Coordinator David McLachlan-Karr and WHO representative in the country Daniel Kertesz updated the media on the UN Ebola response on Wednesday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) The newest estimate of the cost of obesity is pretty jarring — $2 trillion. But how did researchers get to that number? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Crisis Affecting US Adoptions

Ebola Crisis Affecting US Adoptions

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Sanborn family had hoped they'd be able to bring home their 5-year-old adopted son from Liberia by now. But Ebola has forced them to wait. The boy is just one of thousands of orphans in West Africa who've been impacted by the deadly virus. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins