Anti-arthritic effect of berberine on adjuvant-induced rheumatoid arthritis in rats.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Mar 6 ;89:887-893. Epub 2017 Mar 6. PMID: 28282791
BACKGROUND: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and systemic autoimmune disease, which affects approximately 1% adult population in the worldwide.
AIM: The present study was to investigate the anti-arthritic effect of berberine and its involved mechanism in Freund's complete adjuvant (FCA) induced arthritis rats.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Rats were divided randomly into control, FCA, tripterysium glycosides, berberine (75 and 150mg/kg). The apparent indicators, including changes of body weights, paw swelling degrees and arthritis indexes, were analyzed to evaluate anti-arthritic effect of berberine. The levels of IL-6, IL-10, IL-17 and TGF-β in serum were measured by ELISA. Histopathological changes and immunohistochemical expression of anti-IL-10 and anti-IL-17 antibodies in ankle joint tissues were examined.
RESULTS: Berberine obviously suppressed the severity of RA rats by attenuating the apparent indicators as mentioned above. Meanwhile, berberine significantly decreased the levels of IL-6 and IL-17, and increased the levels of IL-10 and TGF-β. Histopathological examinations indicated that berberine attenuated the synovial hyperplasia and inflammatory cell infiltration in joint tissues. In addition, immunohistochemical results showed that the amount of anti-IL-10 antibody increased, while the amount of anti-IL-17 antibody decreased inankle tissues of arthritis rats.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed that berberine exerted a superior anti-arthritic effect and the mechanism maybe involve the balance between Treg and Th17 cells.