Inhibition of type II collagen-induced arthritis in rats by triptolide

Int J Immunopharmacol. 1998 Aug;20(8):389-400. doi: 10.1016/s0192-0561(98)00035-6.


The effects of purified triptolide, a diterpenoid triepoxide compound derived from the Chinese traditional anti-rheumatic medicinal plant extract, Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f (TWHf), were determined in type II collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in rats. Lewis rats were immunized with bovine type II collagen and treated with purified triptolide 0.1 mg/kg/day or control (vehicle for triptolide) by daily gavage feedings for 28 days. Triptolide was well-tolerated with no evidence of toxicity. Treatment with triptolide resulted in significant delay in time to onset of arthritis (P = 0.039), as well as significantly decreased arthritis incidence (P = 0.024), clinical arthritis severity score (P < 0.0001), histopathological arthritis severity score (P < 0.0001), and in vivo cell-mediated immunity to collagen (P = 0.0004). Triptolide appeared to be a potent immunomodulatory inhibitor of CIA in rats and this may account for the previously observed anti-rheumatic properties of crude extracts of TWHf, although more extensive studies will be needed to confirm these effects.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies / blood
  • Arthritis, Experimental / immunology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / pathology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Cattle
  • Collagen / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Collagen / immunology
  • Diterpenes / therapeutic use*
  • Epoxy Compounds
  • Female
  • Hindlimb
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / chemically induced
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / immunology
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Phenanthrenes*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antibodies
  • Diterpenes
  • Epoxy Compounds
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Phenanthrenes
  • triptolide
  • Collagen