‘Good news’ for patients with rheumatoid arthritis…Identification of the treatment effect of ‘Noegongdeung’, a herb grown in Korea : Dong-A Science

Osaka University, Japan

Noegongdeung (seaweed). Provision of National Biological Information System

A new immunological principle of the medicinal herb ‘Noegongdeung (雷公藤)’ relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis has been revealed. It is a way to disrupt the interaction of protein complexes that cause an inflammatory response in the joint. Noegongdeung from Korea, China, and Japan was previously known to be effective for rheumatoid arthritis, but the treatment basis has not been identified according to Western medical principles.

A research team led by Professor Kazuhiro Suzuki of Osaka University, Japan, published a study on the 30th (local time) in the international journal Science Immunology.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes inflammation in several joints, including the hands, wrists, feet and ankles. It is a representative autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy joint tissue. The exact cause of the outbreak is still unknown.

Noegongdeung, whose therapeutic effect on rheumatoid arthritis was confirmed in this study, is also called ‘seaweed tree’. It lives in foothills, valleys and forests above 200m altitude. Early in Chinese medicine, it was used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

However, from the point of view of Western medicine, sufficient research has not been conducted on how the treatment effect occurs. The Korean Medicine Convergence Research Information Center also defines the grade of evidence of the effect of noeukong on rheumatoid arthritis as ‘C’. This rating indicates unclear or controversial scientific evidence.

The research team found that the active ingredient called ‘Cellastrol’, extracted from the root of the rhizome, disrupts the interaction between proteins that cause inflammation in the joints. It has been shown to interfere with the binding of the inflammatory proteins COMMD3 and COMMD8. In the experiment that followed, the cellastrol component was administered to laboratory rats for 21 days and observed. In these mice, the symptoms of rheumatoid inflammation were no longer aggravated.

As a result of the analysis, it was found that the celastrol component also has the effect of suppressing the secretion of B cells that produce antibodies in the body and the autoimmune response. It is said to prevent the worsening of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by suppressing excessive formation of antibodies and abnormal immune responses.

The research team explained, “The principle of the therapeutic effect of the noeukongdeung confirmed this time is aimed at the cause of the occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis, which has not been illuminated before.”

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