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Microsc Microanal. 2017 Oct;23(5):1002-1012. doi: 10.1017/S1431927617012399. Epub 2017 Jul 26.

Atomic Force Microscopy Study of the Anti-inflammatory Effects of Triptolide on Rheumatoid Arthritis Fibroblast-like Synoviocytes.

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1Hebei Key Laboratory of Research and Development for Traditional Chinese Medicine,Institute of Chinese Materia Medica,Chengde Medical College,Chengde 067000,China.
2Chengde Nursing Vocational College,Chengde 067000,China.
3Affiliated Hospital of Chengde Medical College,Chengde 067000,China.


High-resolution atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used for the in situ evaluation of the anti-inflammatory effects of triptolide on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) to understand the anti-RA effects of triptolide, based on the morphological and biophysical changes observed in RA-FLS. RA-FLS have been reported to play a primary role in inflammatory bone destruction during the development of RA and thus are regarded as an important target for RA treatment. Triptolide pretreatment significantly inhibited tumor necrosis factor-α-induced expression of the interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 genes in MH7A cells. Using AFM, we showed that triptolide-induced morphological damage in MH7A cells by inducing significant ultrastructure changes in the membrane, which were closely related to triptolide-induced apoptosis in MH7A cells. Using force measurements determined with AFM, triptolide was shown to increase the stiffness of MH7A cells. These findings not only revealed the strong anti-inflammatory effects of triptolide on RA-FLS, highlighting triptolide as a potential anti-RA agent, but also revealed the possible use of AFM for studying anti-inflammatory responses in RA-FLS, which we expect to be developed into a potential tool for anti-RA drug studies in RA-FLS.


atomic force microscopy; morphology; stiffness; synoviocytes; triptolide

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