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J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Aug 8;155(1):67-79. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.06.006. Epub 2014 Jun 13.

Triptolide: progress on research in pharmacodynamics and toxicology.

Author information

1
Jiangsu Center of Drug Screening, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China. Electronic address: lixiaojiaoyang@163.com.
2
Jiangsu Center of Drug Screening, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China; Key Laboratory of Drug Quality Control and Pharmacovigilance, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China. Electronic address: beaglejiang@cpu.edu.cn.
3
Jiangsu Center of Drug Screening, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China; Jiangsu Center for Pharmacodynamics Research and Evaluation, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China. Electronic address: lyonzhang@163.com.

Abstract

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE:

Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f. (Tripterygium wilfordii), also known as Huangteng and gelsemium elegan, is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been marketed in China as Tripterygium wilfordii glycoside tablets. Triptolide (TP), an active component in Tripterygium wilfordii extracts, has been used to treat various diseases, including lupus, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and nephritic syndrome. This review summarizes recent developments in the research on the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacy and toxicology of TP, with a focus on its novel mechanism of reducing toxicity. This review provides insight for future studies on traditional Chinese medicine, a field that is both historically and currently important.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

We included studies published primarily within the last five years that were available in online academic databases (e.g., PubMed, Google Scholar, CNKI, SciFinder and Web of Science).

RESULTS:

TP has a long history of use in China because it displays multiple pharmacological activities, including anti-rheumatism, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and neuroprotective properties. It has been widely used for the treatment of various diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, nephritic syndrome, lupus, Behcet׳s disease and central nervous system diseases. Recently, numerous breakthroughs have been made in our understanding of the pharmacological efficacy of TP. Although TP has been marketed as a traditional Chinese medicine, its multi-organ toxicity prevents it from being widely used in clinical practice.

CONCLUSIONS:

Triptolide, a biologically active natural product extracted from the root of Tripterygium wilfordii, has shown promising pharmacological effects, particularly as an anti-tumor agent. Currently, in anti-cancer research, more effort should be devoted to investigating effective anti-tumor targets and confirming the anti-tumor spectrum and clinical indications of novel anti-tumor pro-drugs. To apply TP appropriately, with high efficacy and low toxicity, the safety and non-toxic dose range for specific target organs and diseases should be determined, the altered pathways and mechanisms of exposure need to be clarified, and an early warning system for toxicity needs to be established. With further in-depth study of the efficacy and toxicity of TP, we believe that TP will become a promising multi-use drug with improved clinical efficacy and safety in the future.

KEYWORDS:

Anti-tumor; Metabolism; Toxicity; Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f.; Triptolide; Triptolide (PubChem CID: 107985)

PMID:
24933225
DOI:
10.1016/j.jep.2014.06.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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