(HealthDay News) — Melanocortin receptor type 3 (MC3) has protective properties for joint and periodontal tissues, according to a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

Trinidad Montero-Melendez, PhD, from the Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues developed a model to explore the pathological mechanisms and therapeutic opportunities presented by the correlation between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Using distinct protocols, a K/BxN serum model of inflammatory arthritis was applied, and modulation of joint disruption was compared for the MC3 agonist DTrp8-γ-melanocyte stimulating hormone (DTrp) vs. dexamethasone and calcitonin.

The researchers found that the severity of joint disease, induced with distinct protocols and volumes of arthritogenic K/BxN serum, was significantly associated with periodontal bone damage. Unique and distinctive pharmacological properties were revealed with therapeutic treatment with 10µg dexamethasone, 30ng elcatonin, and 20µg DTrp per mouse. Only DTrp provided protection for both joint and periodontal tissue. In animals without arthritis, MC3-null mice had higher susceptibility to periodontal bone loss compared with wild-type mice, with a significant exacerbation seen at 14 weeks of age.

“These data reveal novel protective properties of endogenous MC3 on periodontal status in health and disease and indicate that MC3 activation could lead to the development of a new genus of anti-arthritic bone-sparing therapeutics,” the authors write.

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