Inhibitory effect of artesunate on bone destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.

PMID: Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2022 May; 47 (10): 2698-2704. PMID: 35718489 Abstract Title:

[Inhibitory effect of artesunate on bone destruction in rheumatoid arthritis: an exploration based on AhR/ARNT/NQO1 signaling pathway]. Abstract: This study aimed to explore the effect of artesunate (ARS) on bone destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) based on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) / AhR nucleart ranslocator (ARNT) / NAD (P) H quinone dehydrogenase 1 (NQO1 ) signaling pathway. Macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) and receptor activator of nuclear factor κB (RANKL) were used to induce the differentiation of primary bone marrow-derived mouse macrophages into osteoclasts. After intervention with ARS (0.2, 0.4, and 0.8 μmol·L ~ (-1)), the formation and differentiation of osteoclasts were observed by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and F-actinstaining. The protein expression levels of AhR and NQO1 were detected by Western blot, and their distribution in osteoclasts was observed by immunofluorescence localization. Simultaneously, the collagen induced arthritis (CIA) rat model was established using type Ⅱ bovine collagen emulsion and thentreated with ARS (7.5, 15, and 30 mg · kg ~ (-1)) by gavage for 30 days. Following the observation of spinal cord and bone destruction in CIA rats by Masson staining, the expression of AhR and ARNT in rat knee joint tissue was measured by immunohistochemistry and the NQO1 protein expression in the kneejoint tissue by Western blot. The results showed that a large number of TRAP-positive cells were present in RANKL-induced rats. Compared with the RANKL-induced group, ARS (0.2, 0.4, and 0.8 μmol·L ~ (-1)) inhibited the number of TRAP-positive cells in a dose-dependent manner. F-actin staining results showed that the inhibition of F-actin formation was enhanced with the increase in ARS dose. As revealed by Western blot and immunofluorescence assay, ARS significantly promoted the expression of AhR and its transfer to the nucleus, thereby activating the protein expression of downstream ARNT and antioxidant enzyme NQO1. At the same time, the CIA rat model was successfully established. Masson staining revealed serious joint destruction in the model group, manifested by the failed staining of surface cartilage, disordered arrangement of collagen fibers, and unclear boundaries of cartilage andbone. The positive drug and ARS at different doses all improved cartilage and bone destruction to varying degrees, with the best efficacy detected in the high-dose ARS group. According to immunohistochemistry, ARS promoted AhR and ARNT protein expression in knee cartilage and bone of CIA rats and also NQO1 protein expression in rat knee and ankle joint tissues. In conclusion, ARS inhibited osteoclast differentiation by activating the AhR / ARNT / NQO1 signaling pathway, thus alleviating RA.

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