Celastrol reduces IL-1β induced matrix catabolism, oxidative stress and inflammation in human nucleus pulposus cells and attenuates rat intervertebral disc degeneration in vivo.Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Jul; 91:208-219.BP
Celastrol has been reported to exert therapeutic potential on pro-inflammatory diseases including asthma, Crohn's disease, arthritis and neurodegenerative disorders via inhibiting NF-κB pathway. While the effect of celastrol on intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD), which is also a pro-inflammatory disease, remains unknown. In this study, we evaluated the effect of celastrol on IDD in IL-1β treated human nucleus pulposus cells in vitro as well as in puncture induced rat IDD model in vivo. Our results showed that celastrol reduced the expression of catabolic genes (MMP-3, 9, 13, ADAMTS-4, 5), oxidative stress factors (COX-2, iNOS) and pro-inflammatory factors (IL-6, TNF-a) induced by IL-1β in nucleus pulposus cells, also phosphorylation of IκBα and p65 were attenuated by celastrol, indicating NF-κB pathway was inhibited by celastrol in nucleus pulposus cells. In vivo study showed that celastrol treated rats had stronger T2-weighted signal than vehicle-treated rats at 2 weeks and 6 weeks' time point, suggesting celastrol could attenuate intervertebral disc degeneration in vivo. Together, our study demonstrates that celastrol could reduce IL-1β induced matrix catabolism, oxidative stress and inflammation in human nucleus pulposus cells and attenuates rat intervertebral disc degeneration in vivo, which shows its potential to be a therapeutic drug for IDD.