Triptolide modulates TREM-1 signal pathway to inhibit the inflammatory response in rheumatoid arthritis

Danping Fan, Xiaojuan He, Yanqin Bian, Qingqing Guo, Kang Zheng, Yukun Zhao, Cheng Lu, Baoqin Liu, Xuegong Xu*, Ge ZHANG, Aiping LYU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Triptolide (TP), an active component isolated from Tripterygiumwilfordii Hook F, has therapeutic potential against rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the underlying molecular mechanism has not been fully elucidated. The aim of this study is to investigate the mechanisms of TP acting on RA by combining bioinformatics analysis with experiment validation. The human protein targets of TP and the human genes of RA were found in the PubChem database and NCBI, respectively. These two dataset were then imported into Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) software online, and then the molecular network of TP on RA could be set up and analyzed. After that, both in vitro and in vivo experiments were done to further verify the prediction. The results indicated that the main canonical signal pathways of TP protein targets networks were mainly centered on cytokine and cellular immune signaling, and triggering receptors expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-1 signaling was searched to be the top one shared signaling pathway and involved in the cytokine and cellular immune signaling. Further in vitro experiments indicated that TP not only remarkably lowered the levels of TREM-1 and DNAX-associated protein (DAP)12, but also significantly suppressed the activation of janus activating kinase (JAK)2 and signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT)3. The expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 in lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-stimulated U937 cells also decreased after treatment with TP. Furthermore, TREM-1 knockdown was able to interfere with the inhibition effects of TP on these cytokines production. In vivo experiments showed that TP not only significantly inhibited the TREM-1 mRNA and DAP12 mRNA expression, and activation of JAK2 and STAT3 in ankle of rats with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), but also remarkably decreased production of TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 in serum and joint. These findings demonstrated that TP could modulate the TREM1 signal pathway to inhibit the inflammatory response in RA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number498
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bioinformatics analysis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • TREM-1 signal pathway
  • Triptolide


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