Nano-gold displayed anti-inflammatory property via NF-kB pathways by suppressing COX-2 activity

Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol. 2018;46(sup1):1149-1158. doi: 10.1080/21691401.2018.1446968. Epub 2018 Mar 19.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, affecting almost 1% of world population. Although the exact cause of RA is not known but the complex interaction between inflammatory mediators like tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and nitric oxide (NO) is accountable for cartilage destruction in joints. Gold is used for arthritis treatment since long without knowing its mechanism of action. Hence, the present study was designed to assess antiarthritic activity of nanogold (AuNGs) in collagen-induced arthritic (CIA) rat model by virtue of decreasing inflammatory mediators and oxidative stress. After induction CIA rats were treated with AuNGs in phosphate buffer at a dose of 20 μg/kg body weight for 20 days and found a significant decrease in the level of inflammatory mediators like TNF-α, IL-1β, COX-2 and transcription factor NF-kB (Nuclear factor-kB), which was found to be elevated in CIA rats. Additionally imbalance in oxidant and antioxidant status were determined and perceived that AuNGs remarkably attenuates the imbalance in level of antioxidant and oxidant near to normal. In consistent to biochemical results, mRNA expression of NF-kB, TNF-α, COX-2, and iNOS were also up-regulated in CIA rats, which were considerably down regulated by AuNGs treatment. These findings were positively correlated with the histological results of joints, displayed reduced inflammation and bone erosion in treated group. This study demonstrates the ability of AuNGs to ameliorate production of inflammatory mediators and oxidative stress in CIA rats. Induction of arthritis in rats showed increased inflammation, which activate the transcription factor NF-kB through activation of of IkB kinases (IKK) and ubiquination/proteosome degradation of IKB and transportation of activated NF-kB from cytoplasm to nucleus. In nucleus activated NF-kB bind to the promoter region of target gene and up regulate the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, COX-2 and other inflammatory mediators that leads to cartilage destruction. AuNGs inhibit the activation of NF-kB and other inflammatory mediators and attenuate inflammation and cartilage destruction. COX-2: cyclooxygenase-2; IKK: IkB kinases; IKB: I Kappa B; IL-1β: interleukin-6; IL-6: interleukin-6; iNOS: inducible nitric oxide synthase; NF-kB: nuclear transcription factor kappa B; ROS: reactive oxygen species; TNF-α: tumour necrosis factor-alpha.

Keywords: Nanogold; inflammation; rheumatoid arthritis; transcription factor.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / genetics
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects
  • Gold / chemistry*
  • Gold / pharmacology*
  • Joints / drug effects
  • Joints / metabolism
  • Joints / pathology
  • Male
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / genetics
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • NF-kappa B
  • Gold
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Cyclooxygenase 2