Introduction: Despite the tremendous advances made in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), there is still excess mortality observed in RA patients, which is mainly caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD). Altered lipid metabolism plays a major role in the etiology of CVD. A second common complication observed in RA patients is anemia. Both conditions are serious, reduce quality of life and are undertreated. Areas covered: The authors postulate that there is a specific niche for nonhuman primate models of inflammatory arthritis to address these systemic complications that occur in RA. Furthermore, the authors postulate that these nonhuman primate models are a useful platform to unveil the mechanisms underlying dyslipidemia and anemia, which are responsible for the manifestation of these complications. Expert opinion: The presence of currently untreated systemic complications of RA, such as dyslipidemia and anemia, provides interesting opportunities to include these in the preclinical evaluation of new therapies. In the selection of relevant models for the evaluation of new treatments for RA or the identification of new targets for therapy, we postulate that nonhuman primates should be considered as a valid preclinical model. Because of their closer immunological and physiological proximity to humans, these models in nonhuman primates can be valuable for studying disease-related aspects that cannot be addressed in rodent models.

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Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery
Department of Immunology

Vierboom, M.P.M, Breedveld, E, & 't Hart, B.A. (2012). New drug discovery strategies for rheumatoid arthritis: A niche for nonhuman primate models to address systemic complications in inflammatory arthritis. Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery (Vol. 7, pp. 315–325). doi:10.1517/17460441.2012.666523