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The analgesic effect and possible mechanisms by which koumine alters type II collagen-induced arthritis in rats

Jin, Gui-Lin, Yang, Jian, Chen, Wan-Qing, Wang, Jie, Qiu, Hong-Qiang, Xu, Ying, Yu, Chang-Xi
Natural medicines 2019 v.73 no.1 pp. 217-225
Gelsemium elegans, alkaloids, analgesia, analgesic effect, analgesics, animal models, anti-inflammatory activity, astrocytes, interleukin-1beta, neoplasms, pain, poisonous plants, rats, rheumatoid arthritis, tumor necrosis factor-alpha
Gelsemium elegans Benth. is a toxic plant that has been used as an ancient Chinese herbal remedy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and nervous pain, spasticity, skin ulcers, and cancers. Koumine, one of its representative alkaloids, shows numerous promising pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. Here, we investigated the analgesic effect of koumine on the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) rat model of RA and explored the potential pharmacological mechanisms underlying the analgesia. In the CIA rats, repeated koumine treatments significantly reduced pain compared to controls and attenuated the collagen-induced increase in levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and interleukin 1β (IL-1β). Cultured astrocytes showed reduced astrocyte reactivation and decreased production of both tested cytokines. Based on our results, koumine exerted both analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on the CIA rat model that were apparently mediated by inhibiting astrocyte reactivation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production.