Chinese medicine relieves arthritis, protects joints



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February 13, 2007  
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wuyao, radix linderae, arthritis, chinese medicineCM NEWS – A group of Chinese researchers find that a TCM herb radix linderae (wu yao, ??; aka ??????????) could be used in treating rheumatoid arthritis because radix linderae is found to be able to suppresses inflammation and protects joints from destruction.

The study was done by scientists at the Department of Pharmacology of Chinese Materia Medica, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, China.

Radix linderae, the dry roots of Lindera aggregata (Sims) Kosterm., is frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine. It contains alkaloids, volatile oils and sesquiterpene esters.

What are contained in radix linderae? A nets aporphinoid alkaloid, trivially named linderaline (1), along with eight known isoquinoline alkaloids as (-)-pallidine (2), protosinomenine (3), laudanosoline 3′,4′-dimethyl ether (4), boldine (5), norisoboldine (6), laurolitsine (7), pronuciferine (8) and reticulline (9) were isolated from ethanol extract of the dried root of Lindera aggregata (Sims) Kosterm. Their structures were established on the basis of the spectral analysis. Compounds 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 were found from the plant for the first time.

In the present study, researchers investigated the therapeutic potential and underlying mechanisms of the total alkaloids from Radix Linderae (TARL) on collagen II-induced arthritis in mice.

The results indicated that TARL (50, 100 and 200mg/kg), orally administered on the same day of an antigen challenge for 20 consecutive days, alleviated disease severity in a dose-dependent manner, while it did not significantly affect body weights.

Researchers also found that the TARL treatment reduced the serum level of anti-CII IgG (IgG is the most abundant form, or class, of antibody in the blood), and suppressed the delayed type hypersensitivity.

What is hypersensitivity? Hypersensitivity refers to undesirable (damaging, discomfort-producing and sometimes fatal) reactions produced by the normal immune system. Hypersensitivity reactions require a pre-sensitized (immune) state of the host.

What is delayed type hypersensitivity? This is the only class of hypersensitive reactions to be triggered by antigen-specific T cells, which are linked to inflammation. This type of hypersensitivity is often called “delayed type” as the reaction takes two to three days to develop. Unlike the other types, it is not antibody mediated but rather is a type of cell-mediated response. T cells belong to a group of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and play a central role in cell-mediated immunity. Antigen-specific T cells provides the immune system with “memory” against past infections.

TARL also protected joint destruction based on the evidence of reducing the histopathological scores (which are the total scores based on the sum of peribronchial, perivascular, interstitial, and alveolar inflammation).

The researchers thus conclude that TARL is a potential therapeutic agent for rheumatoid arthritis that suppresses inflammation and protects joints from destruction.

[J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Dec 13]