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Immunopharmacology. 1998 May; 39(2): 117-26.

Suppressive effects of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f., a traditional Chinese medicine, on collagen arthritis in mice.

Asano K, Matsuishi J, Yu Y, Kasahara T, Hisamitsu T.

Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Showa University, Tokyo, Japan.

The effect of chloroform extract of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f. (TWH extract), a traditional immunosuppressive Chinese herb, on type II collagen (C II)-induced arthritis (CIA) in DBA/1J mice was studied. In the first set of experiments, we examined the effect of TWH extract on cellular immune responses to C II. As compared with mice treated with saline, TWH extract administered orally at doses of more than 400 microg kg(-1) once a day for 14 days inhibited the ability of inguinal lymph node cells to produce T cell cytokines interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma when the cells were obtained from mice 21 days after immunization and cultured in vitro with C II. Treatment with TWH extract also inhibited production of macrophage cytokines interleukin-1beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in response to in vitro stimulation of lymph node cells with C II. In the second part of the experiment, we evaluated the influence of TWH extract on the incidence and development of arthritis in murine CIA. Mice were immunized twice at a 3-week interval with bovine C II, with TWH extract being given orally once a day for 14 days with four different regimens. A 14-day course of TWH extract treatment at a daily dose of 400 microg kg(-1), which began on the day of the first C II immunization, suppressed the development of arthritis, as well as antibody production and delayed-type hypersensitivity to C II. Treatment with TWH extract, which started on the same day as the booster immunization, also resulted in inhibition of development of arthritis and of immune responses to C II. On the other hand, therapeutic administration with TWH extract did not affect the clinical course of the disease and the immune response to C II.

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