Bone-sparing effects of rituximab and body composition analysis in a cohort of postmenopausal women affected by rheumatoid arthritis – retrospective study
Rheumatology Unit, University Hospital of Siena, Italy
Data nadesłania: 10-02-2021
Data ostatniej rewizji: 27-05-2021
Data akceptacji: 05-08-2021
Data publikacji online: 17-08-2021
Data publikacji: 02-09-2021
Reumatologia 2021;59(4):206-210
Osteoporosis is the most common bone tissue disease and it is characterized by a reduced bone mineral density (BMD). The main physiopathological mechanisms converge on the uncoupling between bone formation and resorption, thus leading to an enhanced risk of fractures. Several papers have documented the inverse relationships linking high inflammatory cytokines, anticitrullinated protein antibodies, rheumatoid factor, and BMD in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rituximab (RTX) is a chimeric monoclonal antibody directed against the CD20 receptor of B cells. Since the Food and Drug Administration approved it for RA in 2006, there have been many clinical experiences regarding its use. Nevertheless, few studies evaluate the effect of rituximab on BMD. RA is a disease characterized by immune dysfunction with high levels of inflammatory cytokines, autoantibodies, and it is reasonable that a B cell depleting therapy could restore a physiological cytokine balance, thus exerting an osteoprotective effect on the bone tissue. The purpose of this paper is to highlight any difference in BMD and to assess differences in body composition over a retrospective 18-month follow-up period after RTX treatment with a B cell depleting therapy.

Material and methods:
We analyzed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry BMD expressed as g/cm2 and body composition modifications over 18 months with RTX treatment of 20 postmenopausal RA patients.

After eighteen months of therapy with RTX, a statistically significant increase in vertebral (L1–L4) BMD and the stability of femoral BMD were documented.

Rituximab is associated with an improvement of vertebral and preservation of femoral BMD, suggesting a bone-sparing effect due to B cell depletion. Furthermore, patients displayed a redistribution of fat masses toward the hip region.

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