Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a kind of chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the release of inflammatory cytokines and cardiomyocyte apoptosis, which lead to increased riskfor heart diseases. This study aims to explore the possible effect and mechanism of Celastrol on RA induced cardiac impairments in rats.
Collagen induced RA wistar rat models (CIA) were established for the measurement on secondary foot swelling degree, polyarthritis index score, spleen and thymus index. Pathological morphology was observed using H&E staining. Heart fibrosis was measured after Sirius red staining, while cell apoptosis was determined by TUNEL staining. For in vitro experiments, rat cardiomyocytes were isolated to determine the inflammatory cytokine secretion and cell apoptosis using ELISA and flow cytometry, respectively. Protein expressions of related index and autophagy were detected by Western blot and immunofluorescence.
CIA rat model was successfully established and characterized by severe secondary foot swelling degree, and increased polyarthritis index score and spleen and thymus index. Synovial hyperplasia, disordered cardiomyocytes, cell infiltration and fibrosis were also observed in CIA rat model. Compared with CIA model, Celastrol treatment could suppress the release of inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β, as well as inhibiting the expressions of Bax, cleaved caspase3, collagen I, collagen III and α-SMA. In addition to that, Celastrol treatment can attenuate cell apoptosis and fibrosis of cardiomyocytes and elevate Bcl-2 expression. RA induced cell autophagy can be suppressed by Celastrol through inhibiting the activation of TLR2/HMGB1 signal pathway.
Celastrol can regulate TLR2/HMGB1 signal pathway to suppress autophagy and therefore exert cardioprotective effect in RA.

© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.