Anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha therapies attenuate adaptive arteriogenesis in the rabbit
Recall that TNF-alpha is a molecule that turns on inflammation in the body. More TNF-alpha means more inflammation. It works at a much earlier point in the generation of inflammation than other agents to control pain such as NSAIDs. The newest class of drugs for autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohns’ and psoriasis blocks the action of TNF-alpha. While it can be very helpful for many patients with this condition (and expensive…) I have always had concerns with long term use of this class of meds.
Here, in this rabbit study, we see that it inhibits the ability of the vessels in the heart to form new branches–a process that is essential for survival of the heart when major arteries get blocked. A complete lifestyle overhaul can work very well in patients with these autoimmune conditions, without the dangers of increased infections, cancer and now ischemic heart disease.