Amelioration of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by Rhodiola rosea, a natural adaptogen

Xiuli Lin, Yingying Liu, Lili Ma, Xiaomeng Ma, Zhaoyu Chen, Hao Chen, Lei Si, Xueying Ma, Zhiling Yu*, Xiaohong Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Adaptogens are stress-response modifiers which have been considered to exert important influences on cytokines activities and immune response. Here, we investigated the effects of Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea), a natural adaptogen on the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). We found that R. rosea alleviated the severity of EAE as evaluated by clinical and histopathology scores. R. rosea decreased IL-6, sIL-6R, IFN-γ and IL-17A in both serum and splenocytes supernatants while increased IL-4 in splenocytes supernatants of EAE mice. R. rosea also modulated the T cell response by inhibiting Th1 and Th17 cells, restoring Treg cells, combining with regulated Th17/Th1, Th17/Th2 and Th17/Treg ratios in the spleen, inguinal lymph nodes, brain and spinal cord of EAE mice. Furthermore, R. rosea regulated the expression of JAK1, JAK2, STAT3 and RORγt in the spinal cord of EAE mice. Together, our findings suggested the adaptogenic effects of R. rosea on EAE, which may help to deepen the understanding of potential therapeutic values of traditional Chinese medicines for autoimmune diseases of CNS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109960
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adaptogen
  • Cytokines activities
  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • Rhodiola rosea
  • T cell response


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