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Apium graveolens (Celery) in a rat model of rheumatoid arthritis.

Choosri N, Tanasawet S, Chonpathompikunlert P, Sukketsiri W. 2016. Apium graveolens extract attenuates adjuvant-induced arthritis by reducing oxidative stress. J Food Biochem In print: doi:10.1111/jfbc.12276

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, inflammatory condition that leads to progressive joint dysfunction following the deterioration of cartilage and bone. High levels of oxidative stress and free radical factors have been implicated in the joint destruction of RA, with reactive oxygen species (ROS) including peroxide, superoxide, hydroxyl radical, and reaction nitrogen species (RNS) thought to contribute to and act as biochemical mediators in the development of RA. Whilst there are a number of pharmaceuticals approved for treatment of RA, interest remains in alternative therapeutic agents that offer safe and effective relief of symptoms.

Celery, Apium graveolens has been used extensively in traditional medicine for inflammatory disease, gout and rheumatic conditions, with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities being reported. The aim of the current study was to assess the efficacy of A. graveolens extract against an active comparator in an arthritis-induced rat model.

Powdered, dried whole plant methanolic extract of A. graveolens (AGE) was produced with the percentage yield of 15.88% (w/w) from the crude starting material. Prednisone, a corticosteroid drug commonly used in the treatment of RA, was used as positive control. Two-month-old adult male Wistar rats were randomly divided into 6 groups of 10 rats as follows: I--normal control rats, II--arthritic control rats, III--arthritic rats administered with prednisone at 10mg/kg body weight (BW), groups IV--VI--arthritic rats administered with AGE at 250, 500 and 1000mg/kg BW, respectively. Arthritis was induced into the rats using Complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) into the sub-plantar region of the left hind paw, with treatments commencing orally on day 5 after induction by CFA until 28 days. Paw and ankle thickness were measured during treatment. At end of treatment, blood samples were collected for analysis of plasma nitric oxide (NO) and total peroxidase (TP) levels, myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, oxidative stress index (OSI) and total antioxidant status (TAS), and the left ankle joints were separated for histological analysis.

In the arthritis-induced rats, there was no significant difference in the arthritis score, paw and ankle thicknesses observable between groups on day 4 after induction of arthritis and prior to commencing treatment. Significant differences were observable between the arthritic rats and the control groups, regarding paw and ankle thickness, as well as macroscopic signs of severe arthritis such as swelling, redness and deformity. Treatment with prednisone and AGE at all doses significantly ameliorated these effects. Rats treated with AGE 250 and 1000 mg/kg significantly decreased left paw thickness on days 7, 14, and 28, and was similar to prednisone, whilst this was observed in the AGE 500mg/kg groups at days 21 and 28 only. Ankle thickness was significantly decreased on days 7, 14, 21 and 28 in the AGE 250mg/ kg group, whilst this was observable in the prednisone, AGE 500 and 1000mg/kg groups on days 14, 21 and 28. Arthritis score was significantly decreased in all treatment groups on day 14, 21 and 28 compared to the arthritis control group. Histological studies of the AGE group demonstrated minimal synovial lining hyperplasia as well as improvements in joint damage when compared to the arthritic control rats. Following administration of AGE at all doses, plasma levels of TP and OSI were significantly decreased whilst TAS was significantly increased suggesting an anti-oxidative role. In the 500 and 1000mg/kg groups, the increase in NO levels was significantly reduced compared to arthritic controls and there was a significant decrease in MPO activity, suggesting an anti-inflammatory effect. The authors suggested the phenolic and flavonoid content of the AGE could be responsible for the observed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

With current pharmaceutical interventions available for RA often being associated with side effects, the possibility for tolerated and effective alternatives such as Apium graveolens is worthy of further research to better understand its potential in this condition. Future studies that explore the efficacy, tolerability and longer-term outcomes in humans with RA will provide further insight into the therapeutic potential of A. graveolens.
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Article Details
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Author:Tester, Jodie
Publication:Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Sep 1, 2016
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