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Open Access Research

Effect of Bizhongxiao decoction and its dismantled formulae on IL-1 and TNF levels in collagen-induced arthritis in rat synovial joints

Ya-jing Guo1, Jiang Chen2, Xin-gui Xiong1, Dan Wu1, Hao Zhu1 and Qing-hua Liang1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Combined Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, 410008, P. R. China

2 Center of Telemedicine, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, 410008, P. R. China

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Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 2012, 9:47  doi:10.1186/1742-4682-9-47

Published: 20 November 2012

Abstract

Background

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic autoimmune disease, affects sufferers in many different ways. Treatment of this chronic condition is particularly challenging. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides alternatives. Bizhongxiao decoction (BZX) is a TCM complex, which has been used clinically for many years to treat RA. The purpose of this study is to compare the effects of BZX decoction and its dismantled formulae on IL-1 and TNF-1 levels in rats with RA, and to elucidate its mechanism of action.

Methods

Ninety healthy normal female SD rats were randomly divided into six groups: normal (control), model, BZX decoction, and the three dismantled formulae (I: heat-clearing and detoxication, II: dissipating dampness, and III: blood circulation promotion). Apart from the normal (control) group, the rats in each group were injected subcutaneously with bovine type II collagen and complete Freund adjuvant to establish a collagen-induced arthritis model, so that inhibition of foot swelling in the rats by BZX decoction and its dismantled formulae could be observed. Immunohistochemistry was used to assess the levels of the inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and TNF in synovial joints at various time points.

Results

Twenty-one days after the model was established, the levels of TNF and IL-1 were significantly higher in the model group, BZX decoction group and dismantled formula groups I, II and III than in the normal controls (Pā€‰<ā€‰0.05). The levels of these cytokines were significantly higher in the model group than the BZX decoction or the three dismantled formula groups (P <0.01). At longer times, the TNF and IL-1 levels in model group rose gradually; those in the BZX decoction and dismantled formula groups were gradually reduced. The cytokine levels in the BZX decoction group were lower than in the three dismantled formula groups and continued to decline.

Conclusions

BZX decoction and the three dismantled formulae examined down-regulated the inflammatory factors IL-1 and TNF in collagen-induced arthritis rat models, but BZX exerted the strongest effect.

Keywords:
Bizhongxiao decoction; Rheumatoid arthritis; Interleukin-1; Tumor necrosis factor