The aim of the present study is to investigate the potential therapeutic action of RvCSd, an oriental herbal mixture, in an experimental model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). DBA/1J mice were immunized with type II collagen. After a second collagen immunization, mice were treated with RvCSd or methotrexate (MTX) orally once a day for 35 days, and the incidence, clinical score, and joint histopathology were evaluated. The inflammatory response cytokines and cartilage protection effect were determined by measuring the levels in the joints and sera. The Th1/Th2-mediated auto-reactive response was evaluated by determining the proliferative response and cytokines of drained spleen cells stimulated with type II collagen. RvCSd treatment significantly reduced the incidence and severity of CIA, markedly abrogating joint swelling, synovial hyperplasia, and cartilage destruction. RvCSd significantly inhibited the production of interleukin (IL)-1β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and IL-6, IL-2, interferon (IFN)-γ, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-1 and up-regulated anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4, IL-10, and metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 in mice with CIA. In conclusion, RvCSd has therapeutic effects exerted through inhibition of inflammatory and Th1 responses, regulation of MMP/TIMP, and induction of regulatory T cells in CIA; these effects make RvCSd an outstanding candidate for use as an immune suppressive and cartilage protective medicine in RA patients.
The Japanese Pharmacological Society 2009