Bacopa monniera (L.) Wettst is an Ayurvedic herb with antirheumatic potential. This study investigated the therapeutic efficacy of Bacopa monniera in treating rheumatoid arthritis using a type II collagen-induced arthritis rat model. Arthritis was induced in male Wistar rats by immunization with bovine type II collagen in complete Freund's adjuvant. Bacopa monniera extract (BME) was administered after the development of arthritis from day 14 onwards. The total duration of experiment was 60 days. Paw swelling, arthritic index, inflammatory mediators such as cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase, myeloperoxidase and serum anti-collagen IgG and IgM levels were analysed in control and experimental rats. Arthritic induction significantly increased paw edema and other classical signs of arthritis coupled to upregulation of inflammatory mediators such as cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase, neutrophil infiltration and increased anti-collagen IgM and IgG levels in serum. BME significantly inhibited the footpad swelling and arthritic symptoms. BME was effective in inhibiting cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase activities in arthritic rats. Decreased neutrophil infiltration was evident from decreased myeloperoxidase activity and histopathological data where an improvement in joint architecture was also observed. Serum anti-collagen IgM and IgG levels were consistently decreased. Thus the study demonstrates the potential antiarthritic effect of Bacopa monniera for treating arthritis which might confer its antirheumatic activity.
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