Rituximab abrogates joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis by inhibiting osteoclastogenesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • MJH Boumans
  • RM Thurlings
  • K Vos
  • DM Gerlag
  • PP Tak

Colleges, School and Institutes


Objectives To examine how rituximab may result in the inhibition of joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Methods Twenty-eight patients with active RA were treated with rituximab. Radiographs of hands and feet before and 1 year after therapy were assessed using the Sharp-van der Heijde score (SHS). Expression of bone destruction markers was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence of synovial biopsies obtained before and 16 weeks after the initiation of treatment. Serum levels of osteoprotegerin, receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL), osteocalcin and cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen (NTx) were measured by ELISA before and 16 weeks post-treatment. Results After 1 year, the mean (SD) change in total SHS was 1.4 (10.0). Sixteen weeks after treatment there was a decrease of 99% in receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B-positive osteoclast precursors (p=0.02) and a decrease of 37% (p=0.016) in RANKL expression in the synovium and a trend towards reduced synovial osteoprotegerin expression (25%, p=0.07). In serum, both osteoprotegerin (20%, p=0.001) and RANKL (40%, p


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-113
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012