Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 36–45 | Cite as

Rosmarinic Acid Induces Apoptosis of Activated T Cells from Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients via Mitochondrial Pathway

  • JONGHWA WONEmail author

T cells play an important role in the initiation and the progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and depletion of potentially pathogenic T cells was suggested as an important therapeutic protocol. We determined if rosmarinic acid (RosA), known as a secondary metabolite from herbal plants, had apoptotic activity toward T cells from RA patients and further verified target T-cell subsets. CD3+CD25+ activated T-cell subsets from most of the RA patients displayed significantly higher apoptosis rates than did the PBMCs and total CD3+ T cells. Furthermore, activated and effector CD4+ T cells, including CD4+CD25+ and CD4+CD45RO+ T cells, had a tendency of being more susceptible to RosA-induced apoptosis than that of resting and naïve T-cell subsets. RosA induced the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria and the blockage of mitochondrial depolarization inhibited apoptosis. Taken together, these results suggest that RosA induces apoptosis of activated T-cell subsets from RA patients via a mitochondrial pathway.


T cell rheumatoid arthritis rosmarinic acid apoptosis 

Abbreviations used:


rheumatoid arthritis


rosmarinic acid


type II collagen


receptor activator of NF-κB ligand


Fas ligand


mitochondrial membrane potential


bongkrekic acid.



This work was supported by the Green Cross Corp. and by the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology under Grant CBM2-A500-001-1-0-0.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
    • 2
    • 1
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Immune RegulationMogam Biotechnology Research InstituteYongin CitySouth Korea
  2. 2.Rheumatology, Arthritis Center, School of MedicineAjou UniversitySuwon CitySouth Korea
  3. 3.Mogam Biotechnology Research InstituteYongin CitySouth Korea

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