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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 969482, 11 pages
Research Article

Naja naja atra Venom Protects against Manifestations of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in MRL/lpr Mice

Department of Pharmacology and Laboratory of Aging and Nervous Diseases, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Translational Research and Therapy for Neuro-Psycho-Diseases, Soochow University School of Pharmaceutical Science, Suzhou 215123, China

Received 22 December 2013; Revised 3 June 2014; Accepted 10 June 2014; Published 30 June 2014

Academic Editor: Adair Santos

Copyright © 2014 Jiali Zhu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease and effective therapy for this pathology is currently unavailable. We previously reported that oral administration of Naja naja atra venom (NNAV) had anti-inflammatory and immune regulatory actions. We speculated that NNAV may have therapeutic effects in MRL/lpr SLE mice. Twelve-week-old MRL/lpr mice received oral administration of NNAV (20, 40, and 80 μg/kg) or Tripterygium wilfordii polyglycosidium (10 mg/kg) daily for 16 weeks. The effects of NNAV on SLE manifestations, including skin erythema, proteinuria, and anxiety-like behaviors, were assessed with visual inspection and Multistix 8 SG strips and open field test, respectively. The pathology of spleen and kidney was examined with H&E staining. The changes in autoimmune antibodies and cytokines were determined with ELISA kits. The results showed that NNAV protected against the manifestation of SLE, including skin erythema and proteinuria. In addition, although no apparent histological change was found in liver and heart in MRL/lpr SLE mice, NNAV reduced the levels of glutamate pyruvate transaminase and creatine kinase. Furthermore, NNAV increased serum C3 and reduced concentrations of circulating globulin, anti-dsDNA antibody, and inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-. NNAV also reduced lymphadenopathy and renal injury. These results suggest that NNAV may have therapeutic values in the treatment of SLE by inhibiting autoimmune responses.