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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Effect of sclerostin-neutralising antibody on periarticular and systemic bone in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis: a microCT study

Massimo Marenzana12*, Alex Vugler1, Adrian Moore1 and Martyn Robinson1

Author Affiliations

1 UCB Pharma, 208 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 3WE, UK

2 Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:R125  doi:10.1186/ar4305

Published: 18 September 2013



Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases have increased bone loss and bone fragility and are at increased risk of fracture. Although anti-resorptive drugs are effective in blocking inflammation-induced bone loss, they are less effective at rebuilding bone. We have previously shown that treatment with sclerostin antibody (Scl-AbI) builds bone and can prevent or restore bone loss in a murine model of inflammatory bowel disease. In this study, we tested the effect of Scl-AbI in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis (the collagen-induced arthritis model, CIA). We hypothesised that sclerostin blockade can protect and restore bone both locally and systemically without affecting progression of inflammation.


CIA was induced in male DBA/1 mice, which were treated with either PBS or Scl-AbI (10 mg/kg, weekly) prophylactically for 55 days or therapeutically for 21 days (starting 14 days post onset of arthritis). Systemic inflammation was assessed by measuring the serum concentration of anti-CII IgG1, IgG2a and IgG2b by ELISA. Changes in bone mass and structure, either at sites remote from the joints or at periarticular sites, were measured using DEXA and microCT. Bone focal erosion was assessed in microCT scans of ankle and knee joints.


Circulating anti-CII immunoglobulins were significantly elevated in mice with CIA and there were no significant differences in the levels of anti-CII immunoglobulins in mice treated with PBS or Scl-ABI. Prophylactic Scl-AbI treatment prevented the decrease in whole body bone mineral density (BMD) and in the bone volume fraction at axial (vertebral body) and appendicular (tibial proximal metaphysis trabecular and mid-diaphysis cortical bone) sites seen in PBS-treated CIA mice, but did not prevent the formation of focal bone erosions on the periarticular bone in the knee and ankle joints. In the therapeutic study, Scl-AbI restored BMD and bone volume fraction at all assessed sites but was unable to repair focal erosions.


Sclerostin blockade prevented or reversed the decrease in axial and appendicular bone mass in the murine model of rheumatoid arthritis, but did not affect systemic inflammation and was unable to prevent or repair local focal erosion.

Sclerostin; sclerostin antibody; inflammation; collagen-induced arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; bone loss; focal erosion; micro computed tomography; microCT