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Mode of Action of Antirheumatic Drugs

Br Med J 1971; 2 doi: (Published 19 June 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;2:677
  1. J. N. McArthur,
  2. P. D. Dawkins,
  3. M. J. H. Smith,
  4. E. B. D. Hamilton


    The concentrations of free and protein-bound L-tryptophan were measured in sera from normal subjects, patients with rheumatoid arthritis, pregnant women, and patients with jaundice. In the patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving treatment with one or more antirheumatic drugs the percentage of the amino-acid bound to the circulating proteins was significantly depressed and in one patient returned to normal when therapy was stopped. Pregnancy and jaundice were also associated with raised free tryptophan and decreased bound tryptophan concentrations and bilirubin displaced the amino-acid from its binding sites on human serum proteins in vitro. It is suggested the behaviour of tryptophan mimics that of certain peptides which protect susceptible tissues against chronic inflammatory insults.