Nicorandil and theophylline can protect experimental rats against complete Freund's adjuvant-induced rheumatoid arthritis through modulation of JAK/STAT/RANKL signaling pathway

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Abstract

Signaling pathways are interesting fields of study of pathogenesis and treatment trials. We elucidated the possible protective effects of nicorandil (15 mg/kg/day) and theophylline (20 mg/kg/day) on experimentally-induced RA, focusing on the role of JAK (Janus Kinase) / STAT (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription) / RANKL (Receptor Activator of Nuclear factor-Kappa B Ligand) / cytokine signaling pathway. Four sets of experiments were performed. First, effect of test agents on normal animals was evaluated. Second, effect of test agents was evaluated on Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA; 0.3 ml, s.c.)-induced RA to investigate anti-arthritic effect. Third, effect of test agents was evaluated on growth hormone (GH; 2 mg/kg/day, s.c.)-induced stimulation of JAK/STAT/RANKL/cytokine signaling pathway to investigate the role of this signaling pathway in their anti-arthritic effect. Fourth, the effect of test agents was performed on CFA/GH-induced RA. To fulfill this purpose, serum anti-citrullinated peptide antibody (ACPA), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), together with tissue JAK2, STAT3, RANKL, inducible and endothelial nitric oxide synthases (iNOS and eNOS) as well as macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP1α) were estimated using ELISA, Western blotting and PCR techniques, confirmed by a histopathological study. Test agents significantly corrected JAK2, STAT3, RANKL and IL-6 values in animals receiving GH. Additionally, test agents could correct ACPA, IL-6, COMP, JAK2, STAT3, RANKL, iNOS, eNOS and MIP1α levels compared with the respective CFA or CFA/GH controls. These results conclude that nicorandil and theophylline have good anti-arthritic effects related to modulation of JAK/STAT/RANKL signaling pathway. Further clinical trials are claimed.

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