Anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effect of Betula platyphylla var. japonica in human interleukin-1β-stimulated fibroblast-like synoviocytes and in experimental animal models

Jeong-Eun Huh, Jang-Mu Hong, Yong-Hyeon Baek, Jae-Dong Lee, Do-Young Choi, Dong-Suk Park
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2011 April 26, 135 (1): 126-34

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Traditional medicine has widely been used Betula platyphylla var. japonica to treat various inflammatory diseases including arthritis.

AIM OF THE STUDY: To determine the anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive, and anti-arthritic effects of Betula platyphylla in interleukin-1β (IL-1β)-stimulated fibroblast-like synoviocytes from human rheumatoid arthritis and in nociceptive and inflammatory animal model.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The inflammatory mediators such as IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, MMP-13, inducible nitric oxide synthesis (iNOS), nitrites, prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) and cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2) activity of Betula platyphylla were tested in IL-1β-stimulated fibroblast-like synoviocytes. Tail withdrawal in response to thermal stimulation in tail flick test or paw flinching and shaking in response to sc hind paw formalin injection was measured 1h after oral administration of Betula platyphylla. The former was evaluated with a paw pressure test, and the latter was measured using the squeaking score, and paw volume in inflammatory arthritis tests.

RESULTS: Betula platyphylla significantly inhibited proliferation of IL-1β-induced synoviocytes. Betula platyphylla reduced the levels of inflammatory mediators, such as IL-6, TNF-α, MMP-1, MMP13, and PGE(2). In particular, Betula platyphylla significantly inhibited the releases of nitrites and iNOS, as well as release of NFκB, into the nucleus of IL-1β-treated synoviocytes, even at concentrations as low as 1μg/ml. Oral administrant of Betula platyphylla at 400mg/kg significantly decreased about 27.8% of tail flick withdrawal and inhibited about the number of paw flinches in both phases 1 and 2 of the formalin test. In the carrageenan-induced acute pain and arthritis model, Betula platyphylla dose dependently reduced the nociceptive threshold and the arthritic symptoms at day 8, respectively, and Betula platyphylla at 400mg/kg markedly reduced the inflammatory area about 48% in the ankle joints. This capacity of Betula platyphylla at 400mg/kg was similar to that of the celecoxib-2 inhibitor in carrageenan-induced nociceptive and inflammatory arthritis model.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that Betula platyphylla has anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects in IL-1β-stimulated RA FLS and in an animal model of arthritis. Thus, the use of Betula platyphylla as a pharmaceutical candidate for the treatment of arthritis should be further studied.

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