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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 Sep;52(9):1583-91. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ket178. Epub 2013 May 17.

Emodin suppresses inflammatory responses and joint destruction in collagen-induced arthritic mice.

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Department of Oral Biochemistry, Wonkwang University, Iksan City, Jeonbuk, South Korea.



Emodin (3-methyl-1,6,8-trihydroxyanthraquinone) is one of the active components present in the root and rhizome of Rheum palmatum. It has been shown to contain biological activity (antitumour, antibacterial, diuretic and vasorelaxant effects). However, the mechanisms underlying the anti-arthritic effect of emodin have not been elucidated. Here we investigated whether emodin treatment would modulate the severity of the disease in an experimental arthritis model.


We evaluated the effects of emodin on CIA mice in vivo.


The pathological processes of RA are mediated by a number of cytokines and MMPs. Expression of these proinflammatory mediators is controlled by nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). This study was performed to explore the effect of emodin on control of the NF-κB activation pathway and to investigate whether emodin has anti-inflammatory effects in CIA mice in vivo. Emodin inhibited the nuclear translocation and DNA binding of NF-κB subunits, which were correlated with its inhibitory effect on cytoplasmic IκBα degradation in CIA mice. These events further suppressed chemokine production and MMP expression. In addition, emodin inhibited the osteoclast differentiation induced by M-CSF and receptor activation of NF-κB ligand in bone marrow macrophages.


These findings suggest that emodin exerts anti-inflammatory effects in CIA mice through inhibition of the NF-κB pathway and therefore may have therapeutic value for the treatment of RA.


emodin; nuclear factor-κB; rheumatoid arthritis; synoviocytes

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