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IRAP therapy for Arthritis in Horses
The first step to understanding what IRAP therapy is and it's role in the treatment of degenerative joint disease type of arthritis is to understand the acronym "IRAP". Let's explain the letters one at a time. The "I" stands for Interleukin-1 (abbreviated IL-1) which is a cytokine, one of the first ever described. Cytokines are produced by cells and and then diffuse to another cell and alters the behavior of that cell. This means cytokines are a type of locally acting hormone. Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is believed to be a major mediator of joint disease by communicating with cells in the joint and inducing the release of inflammatory products. In order to exert it's effects IL-1 must communicate with cells by means of a receptor on the target cell it effects. This cell receptor to IL-1 is abbreviated as IL-1R and is the "R" in the acronym. If you can block the IL-1R you are antagonizing the receptor's activation, so "A"ntagonizing is the "A" in IRAP. A protein has been identified that antagonizes the IL-1R is referred to as a IL-1Ra Protein which become the P in IRAP. To put it all together without the abbreviations could look like this: Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonizing Protein. Inflammation can be a good thing but in degenerative joint disease the inflammation is excessive leading to further degeneration of the joint. IRAP therapy involves decreasing the effects of IL-1 with a protein. This article discusses IL-1 and it's role in DJD, the therapeutic options currently in use, and results of studies using this therapy in horses.
~Word Count: 1829 words (The average magazine page contains about 600 words);
~Last Updated: April 17, 2011;
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