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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014, Article ID 195327, 7 pages
Research Article

Potent Anti-Inflammatory and Antiproliferative Effects of Gambogic Acid in a Rat Model of Antigen-Induced Arthritis

1Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
2Gulbenkian Programme for Advanced Medical Education, Lisbon, Portugal
3Department of Internal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
4Rheumatology Department, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Norte, EPE, Hospital de Santa Maria, Lisbon, Portugal

Received 24 April 2013; Accepted 24 December 2013; Published 30 January 2014

Academic Editor: Sophie Desplat-Jégo

Copyright © 2014 Rita Cascão 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.


Background. We have previously reported a continuous activation of caspase-1 and increased interleukin (IL)-1β levels in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA). These observations raised the hypothesis that drugs targeting the IL-1β pathway, in addition to tumour necrosis factor (TNF), may be particularly effective for early RA treatment. We have recently identified gambogic acid as a promising therapeutic candidate to simultaneously block IL-1β and TNF secretion. Our main goal here was to investigate whether gambogic acid administration was able to attenuate inflammation in antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) rats. Methods. Gambogic acid was administered to AIA rats in the early and late phases of arthritis. The inflammatory score, ankle perimeter, and body weight were evaluated during the period of treatment. Rats were sacrificed after 19 days of disease progression and paw samples were collected for histological and immunohistochemical evaluation. Results. We found that inflammation in joints was significantly suppressed following gambogic acid administration. Histological and immunohistochemical evaluation of treated rats revealed normal joint structures with complete abrogation of the inflammatory infiltrate and cellular proliferation. Conclusions. Our results suggest that gambogic acid has significant anti-inflammatory properties and can possibly constitute a prototype anti-inflammatory drug with therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as RA.