Potent anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effects of gambogic acid in a rat model of antigen-induced arthritis

Rita Cascão, Bruno Vidal, Helena Raquel, Ana Neves-Costa, Nuno Figueiredo, Vineet Gupta, João Eurico Fonseca, Luis Ferreira Moita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. We have previously reported a continuous activation of caspase-1 and increased interleukin (IL)-1β levels in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA). These observations raised the hypothesis that drugs targeting the IL-1β pathway, in addition to tumour necrosis factor (TNF), may be particularly effective for early RA treatment. We have recently identified gambogic acid as a promising therapeutic candidate to simultaneously block IL-1β and TNF secretion. Our main goal here was to investigate whether gambogic acid administration was able to attenuate inflammation in antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) rats. Methods. Gambogic acid was administered to AIA rats in the early and late phases of arthritis. The inflammatory score, ankle perimeter, and body weight were evaluated during the period of treatment. Rats were sacrificed after 19 days of disease progression and paw samples were collected for histological and immunohistochemical evaluation. Results. We found that inflammation in joints was significantly suppressed following gambogic acid administration. Histological and immunohistochemical evaluation of treated rats revealed normal joint structures with complete abrogation of the inflammatory infiltrate and cellular proliferation. Conclusions. Our results suggest that gambogic acid has significant anti-inflammatory properties and can possibly constitute a prototype anti-inflammatory drug with therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as RA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number195327
JournalMediators of inflammation
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


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