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The balance between T helper 17 (Th17) cells and regulatory T (Treg) cells, plays a critical role in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The differentiation of Th17 cells requires the activation of STAT3, which determines the balance of Th17/Treg. Here, we investigated the therapeutic effect of Cryptotanshinone (CTS) on collagen induced mouse arthritis and explored the underlying mechanisms.Arthritis was induced in DBA/1 mice with bovine collagen type II and complete Freund's adjuvant. CTS was given at 20 mg kg−1 d−1 or 60 mg kg−1 d−1 by gavage for 6 weeks. The immuno-inflammation and joint destruction were evaluated and the balance of Th17/Treg was determined. STAT3 acetylation and phosphorylation were detected by western blotting, and the involvement of p300 was investigated by siRNA and plasmid overexpression.CTS at a dose of 60 mg kg−1 d−1 ameliorated the inflammation and joint destruction in CIA mice. It improved Th17/Treg imbalance, and inhibited both acetylation and phosphorylation of STAT3. CTS reduced p300 expression and its binding to STAT3, but increased phosphorylated AMPK. Knockdown of p300 mimicked the inhibitory effect of CTS on STAT3 acetylation and phosphorylation, which could be partially rescued by overexpression of p300-WT, but not p300-dominant negative (DN) construct.Our study suggested that the anti-arthritis effects of CTS were attained through suppression of p300-mediated STAT3 acetylation. Our data suggest that CTS might be a potential immune modulator for RA treatment.