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Hyaluronidase and collagenase inhibitory activities of the herbal formulation Triphala guggulu

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Myrrh (guggulu) oleoresin from the Commiphora mukul tree is an important component of antiarthritic drugs in Ayurvedic medicine. Clinical data suggest that elevated levels of hyaluronidase and collagenase type 2 enzymes contribute significantly to cartilage degradation. Triphala guggulu (TG) is a guggulu-based formulation used for the treatment of arthritis. We assessed the chondroprotective potential of TG by examining its effects on the activities of pure hyaluronidase and collagenase type 2 enzymes. Triphala shodith guggulu (TSG), an intermediate in the production of TG, was also examined. A spectrophotometric method was used to assay Hyaluronidase activity, and to detect potential Hyaluronidase inhibitors. Aqueous and hydro-alcoholic extracts of TSG showed weak but dose-dependent inhibition of hyaluronidase activity. In contrast, the TG formulation was 50 times more potent than the TSG extract with respect to hyaluronidase inhibitory activity. A validated X-ray film-based assay was used to measure the gelatinase activity of pure collagenase type 2. Hydro-alcoholic extracts of the TG formulation were 4 times more potent than TSG with respect to collagenase inhibitory activity. Components of Triphala were also evaluated for their inhibitory activities on hyaluronidase and collagenase. This is the first report to show that the T2 component of Triphala (T. chebula) is a highly potent hyaluronidase and collagenase inhibitor. Thus, the TG formulation inhibits two major enzymes that can degrade cartilage matrix. Our study provides the first in vitro preclinical evidence of the chondroprotective properties of TG.

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disintegrin containing metalloproteinases with thrombospondin motifs


hyaluronic acid


high-performance thin layer chromatography


matrix metalloproteinase




Triphala guggulu


Triphala shodith guggulu


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Correspondence to Venil N. Sumantran.

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Sumantran, V.N., Kulkarni, A.A., Harsulkar, A. et al. Hyaluronidase and collagenase inhibitory activities of the herbal formulation Triphala guggulu . J Biosci 32, 755–761 (2007).

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