Anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effect of Betula platyphylla var. japonica in human interleukin-1β-stimulated fibroblast-like synoviocytes and in experimental animal models

Jeong Eun Huh, Jang Mu Hong, Yong Hyeon Baek, Jae Dong Lee, Do Young Choi, Dong Suk Park

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Traditional medicine has widely been used Betula platyphylla var. japonica to treat various inflammatory diseases including arthritis. Aim of the study: To determine the anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive, and anti-arthritic effects of Betula platyphylla in interleukin-1β (IL-1β)-stimulated fibroblast-like synoviocytes from human rheumatoid arthritis and in nociceptive and inflammatory animal model. Materials and methods: The inflammatory mediators such as IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, MMP-13, inducible nitric oxide synthesis (iNOS), nitrites, prostaglandin E 2 (PGE 2) and cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2) activity of Betula platyphylla were tested in IL-1β-stimulated fibroblast-like synoviocytes. Tail withdrawal in response to thermal stimulation in tail flick test or paw flinching and shaking in response to sc hind paw formalin injection was measured 1 h after oral administration of Betula platyphylla. The former was evaluated with a paw pressure test, and the latter was measured using the squeaking score, and paw volume in inflammatory arthritis tests. Results: Betula platyphylla significantly inhibited proliferation of IL-1β-induced synoviocytes. Betula platyphylla reduced the levels of inflammatory mediators, such as IL-6, TNF-α, MMP-1, MMP13, and PGE 2. In particular, Betula platyphylla significantly inhibited the releases of nitrites and iNOS, as well as release of NFκB, into the nucleus of IL-1β-treated synoviocytes, even at concentrations as low as 1 μg/ml. Oral administrant of Betula platyphylla at 400 mg/kg significantly decreased about 27.8% of tail flick withdrawal and inhibited about the number of paw flinches in both phases 1 and 2 of the formalin test. In the carrageenan-induced acute pain and arthritis model, Betula platyphylla dose dependently reduced the nociceptive threshold and the arthritic symptoms at day 8, respectively, and Betula platyphylla at 400 mg/kg markedly reduced the inflammatory area about 48% in the ankle joints. This capacity of Betula platyphylla at 400 mg/kg was similar to that of the celecoxib-2 inhibitor in carrageenan-induced nociceptive and inflammatory arthritis model. Conclusions: These results suggest that Betula platyphylla has anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects in IL-1β-stimulated RA FLS and in an animal model of arthritis. Thus, the use of Betula platyphylla as a pharmaceutical candidate for the treatment of arthritis should be further studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2011


  • Anti-arthritis
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-nociceptive
  • Betula platyphylla var. japonica


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