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Int Immunopharmacol. 2009 Jul;9(7-8):996-1001. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2009.04.007. Epub 2009 Apr 19.

Immunosuppressive effects of demethylzeylasteral in a rat kidney transplantation model.

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Department of Urology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, 180 Fenglin Road, 200032 Shanghai, China.


In this study, we examined the immunosuppressive activity of demethylzeylasteral (T-96), isolated from the traditional Chinese herbal medicine, Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f. Its immunosuppressive effect was investigated using mouse splenocytes in vitro, and in an in vivo rat kidney transplant model. T-96 inhibited mouse splenocyte proliferation in a dose dependent manner. In the rat kidney transplant study, rats were randomly divided into eight groups following kidney transplantation, and different doses of T-96 or cyclosporin A (CsA) were administered to each group. T-96 alone at doses of 10 or 20 mg/kg/day significantly prolonged the survival of kidney-transplanted rats, compared with transplanted but untreated control rats. A combination of T-96 and prednisone also significantly prolonged survival: 10 mg/kg/day T-96 with 10 mg/kg/day prednisone increased the survival time to 31.8+/-6.5 days. Moreover, the combination of T-96 and prednisone was also effective in suppressing rejection of rat transplanted kidneys. These results demonstrate the strong immunosuppressive activity of T-96 and suggest a possible clinical use for T-96 as an immunosuppressive agent in the fields of organ transplantation and autoimmune disorders.

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