Nat Prod Sci.  2019 Dec;25(4):304-310. 10.20307/nps.2019.25.4.304.

Anti-arthritic Effects of Oplopanax elatus in a Rat Model of Rheumatoid Arthritis (Adjuvant-induced Arthritis)

  • 1College of Pharmacy, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea.
  • 2Department of Bio-Resource Sciences, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea.
  • 3Bioherb Research Institute, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea.


The stems of Oplopanax elatus (OE) have long been used to treat inflammatory disorders in herbal medicine, and in the previous investigation, OE was found to possess anti-inflammatory activity in lipopolysaccharide-treated macrophages, RAW 264.7 cell. OE reduces inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase-induced NO production, and interferes with mitogen-activated protein kinase activation pathways. In the present study, the pharmacological action of the water extract of OE was examined to establish anti-arthritic action, using a rat model of adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA). The water extract of OE administered orally inhibited AIA-induced arthritis at (100 - 300) mg/kg/day. The paw edema was significantly decreased, in combination with reduced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The action mechanism includes an inhibition of MAPKs/nuclear transcription factor-κB activation. These new findings strongly suggest that OE possesses anti-arthritic action, and may be used as a therapeutic agent in inflammation-related disorders, particularly in arthritic condition.


Oplopanax elatus; rheumatoid arthritis; adjuvant-induced arthritis; mitogen-activated protein kinase

MeSH Terms

Arthritis, Rheumatoid*
Herbal Medicine
Models, Animal*
Nitric Oxide
Protein Kinases
RAW 264.7 Cells
Nitric Oxide
Protein Kinases


  • Fig. 1 Inhibition of arthritic inflammation by WOE on adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats. (A) Body weight change (n = 6), (B) Changes of rat right hind paw volume (n = 6), % inhibition = [paw volume of AC − (paw volume of test sample − paw volume of C)] / (paw volume of AC − paw volume of C) × 100, (C) Histologic observation of ankle joint of right hind paw, One set of three samples per group is represented here., Hematoxylin and eosin staining, × 40, C (cartilage), S (synovial tissue), cartilage destruction (), cellular infiltration (→), (D) Gene expression of pro-inflammatory molecules (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α) in right hind paw tissue (n = 3), The paw tissues were homogenized, and total RNA were extracted, followed by real-time PCR analysis., Control (C), adjuvant-treated control (AC), adjuvant + WOE 300 mg/kg/day (AW300), adjuvant + WOE 100 mg/kg/day (AW100), adjuvant + prednisolone 5 mg/kg/day (AP5), +P < 0.1, *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, significantly different from AC.

  • Fig. 2 Effects of WOE on the signaling pathways of arthritic inflammation in adjuvant-induced arthritis rats. (A) Effects of WOE (300 mg/kg/day) on MAPK pathways (p38 MAPK, ERK, and JNK), (B) Effects of WOE (300 mg/kg/day) on nuclear transcription factor activation (NF-κB p65 and c-Jun), Western blot analysis was performed by homogenizing right hind paw tissues in separate parallel experiment. +P < 0.1, significantly different from adjuvant-treated control (n = 3).

  • Fig. 3 Effects of WOE on pro-inflammatory molecules of the serum in adjuvant-induced arthritic rats. The amount of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and C-reactive protein (CRP) and activity of ALT and AST in the serum of rats treated WOE (100 and 300 mg/kg/day) and prednisolone (5 mg/kg/day) were measured using ELISA kits. ″P < 0.05, significantly different from control; +P < 0.1, *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, significantly different from adjuvant-treated control.


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