The analgesic effect and possible mechanisms by which koumine alters type II collagen-induced arthritis in rats

Abstract

Gelsemium elegans Benth. is a toxic plant that has been used as an ancient Chinese herbal remedy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and nervous pain, spasticity, skin ulcers, and cancers. Koumine, one of its representative alkaloids, shows numerous promising pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. Here, we investigated the analgesic effect of koumine on the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) rat model of RA and explored the potential pharmacological mechanisms underlying the analgesia. In the CIA rats, repeated koumine treatments significantly reduced pain compared to controls and attenuated the collagen-induced increase in levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and interleukin 1β (IL-1β). Cultured astrocytes showed reduced astrocyte reactivation and decreased production of both tested cytokines. Based on our results, koumine exerted both analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on the CIA rat model that were apparently mediated by inhibiting astrocyte reactivation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 81603094 and 81773716), the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province of China (Nos. 2016J05191 and 2016J01367), and the Joint Funds for the Innovation of Science and Technology, Fujian province (Grant Nos. 2016Y9049 and 2016Y9058).

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Correspondence to Chang-Xi Yu.

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The study protocols complied with the guidelines of the Ethics Committee of Fujian Medical University and conformed to the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Authorization number: 2016-13).

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Jin, GL., Yang, J., Chen, WQ. et al. The analgesic effect and possible mechanisms by which koumine alters type II collagen-induced arthritis in rats. J Nat Med 73, 217–225 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11418-018-1229-3

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Keywords

  • Koumine
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Astrocyte
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rats