Cellular and molecular mechanisms of a two-herb formula in restraining bone erosion in experimental models of rheumatoid arthritis

Y. J. Chen, J. Y. Wu, Z. L. Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstractpeer-review


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease, is
characterized by synovial hyperplasia and bone erosion. Current therapies have
limitations. A herbal formula (RL) comprising Rosae Multiflorae Fructus and Lonicerae Japonicae Flos, is traditionally used for treating RA in China. We have previously shown that an ethanolic extract of RL (RLE) possesses anti-RA effects in rats. Recently, we determined whether RLE attenuated bone erosion by inhibiting osteoclastogenesis, and investigated the involvement of NF-κB, MAPK and STAT3 pathways in RLE’s anti-osteoclastogenic effects.

On bovine bone slides seeded with RANKL-stimulated macrophages, RLE inhibited
bone resorption. Micro-CT analyses showed that RLE attenuated bone erosion in CIA rats. Further assays showed that RLE decreased osteoclasts in the joints of CIA rats, and inhibited osteoclastogenesis in RANKL-stimulated macrophages and a co-culture system (IL-6/sIL-6R-stimulated RA-FLS/PBMCs). RNA-seq analysis of rat synovia tissues and molecular analyses demonstrated that inhibitions of NF-κB, MAPK and STAT3 pathways were involved in the anti-osteoclastogenic effects of RLE.

In conclusion, our novel findings demonstrated that RLE attenuated bone erosion in CIA rats; inhibition of osteoclastogensis was one of the cellular anti-RA mechanisms of RLE and suppressions of NF-κB, MAPK and STAT3 pathways were involved in RLE’s molecular anti-RA mechanisms. This study might provide pharmacological justifications for the use of the formula RL in treating RA, and suggest that RLE has the potential to be developed into a modern anti-RA agent.


Symposium第七届可食和药用植物资源及功能成分国际学术研讨会 = 7th International Symposium on Edible & Medical Plant Resources and the Bioactive Ingredients, ISEPR 2022
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