Background: Considering that adjuvant arthritis is an experimental model of arthritis widely used for preclinical testing of numerous anti-arthritic agents, which were taken by a large number of patients worldwide, it is of great interest to investigate the therapeutic action of compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, such as Uncaria tomentosa extract. Moreover, there are no studies demonstrating the effect of U. tomentosa on the metabolism of adenine nucleotides published so far. Thus, the purpose of the present study is to investigate the effects of U. tomentosa extract on E-NTPDase and E-ADA activities in lymphocytes of Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA) arthritis induced rats.
Methods: To evaluate the effect of U. tomentosa extract on the activity of E-NTPDase and ADA in lymphocytes, the rats were submitted to an experimental adjuvant arthritis model. Peripheral lymphocytes were isolated and E-NTPDase and E-ADA activities were determined. Data were analyzed by a one- or two-way ANOVA. Post hoc analyses were carried out by the Student-Newman-Keuls (SNK) Multiple Comparison Test.
Results: E-NTPDase activity was increased in arthritic untreated. Arthritic rats which received U. tomentosa extract, presented similar results to the control group. However, results obtained for adenosine hydrolysis by E-ADA were not altered in arthritic rats. U. tomentosa extract did not alter E-NTPDase and E-ADA activity in healthy animals.
Conclusions: The present investigation supports the hypothesis that the increased E-NTPDase activity verified in arthritic rats might be an attempt to maintain basal levels of ATP and ADP in the extracellular medium, since the arthritis induction causes tissue damage and, consequently, large amounts of ATP are released into this milieu. Also, it highlights the possibility to use U. tomentosa extract as an adjuvant to treat arthritis.