Therapeutic effects of total alkaloids of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f. on collagen-induced arthritis in rats

J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Feb 13;145(3):699-705. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.11.018. Epub 2012 Nov 23.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f. is one of Traditional Chinese Medicines which is commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The total alkaloids were the main constituent part of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f. It has a great significance to study the effects of the total alkaloids of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f. (ATW) on RA.

Aim of the study: This paper aims at investigating the therapeutic effect of ATW on RA and its possible mechanism, and providing a theoretical and experimental basis for the clinical use of ATW.

Materials and methods: The model of wistar rats of type II collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) was made, and the rats were perfused a stomach with ATW for 4 weeks continuously. Then the levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-<alpha>, in the serum of CIA rats were detected by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the joint pathological section of CIA rats was observed by hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining method and the expression of IL-6, IL-8, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), TNF-α were measure by immunohistochemistry staining method.

Results: Compared with model group, ATW could significantly reduce paw swelling and suppresse articular cartilage degenerated. The results also found that there was significant reduction levels of IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α in serum of CIA rats treated with ATW and ATW inhibited the expression of IL-6, IL-8, NF-κB, TNF-α in synovial tissue.

Conclusion: ATW not only could inhibit the symptom of CIA rats significantly but also could inhibit the production of IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α in serum and the expression of IL-6, IL-8, NF-κB and TNF-α in synovial tissue targeting the inflammatory. ATW would be a drug as a novel botanical drug for the treatment of RA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / analysis
  • Alkaloids / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Experimental / pathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Edema / metabolism
  • Edema / pathology
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Roots
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Synovial Membrane / metabolism
  • Tripterygium*


  • Alkaloids
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal