Antcin K inhibits VCAM-1-dependent monocyte adhesion in human rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts

  • David Achudhan
  • Sunny Li-Yun Chang
  • Shan-Chi Liu
  • Yen-You Lin
  • Wei-Chien Huang
  • Yang-Chang Wu
  • Chien-Chung Huang
  • Chun-Hao Tsai
  • Chih-Yuan Ko
  • Yueh-Hsiung Kuo
  • Chih-Hsin Tang
Keywords: Rheumatoid arthritis, Cell adhesion molecules, Monocytes, VCAM-1, CD11b, Antrodia cinnamomea, Antcin K


Background: Antcin K, an extract of Antrodia cinnamomea (a medicinal mushroom endemic to Taiwan commonly used in Chinese medicine preparations), inhibits proinflammatory cytokine production and angiogenesis in human rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs), major players in RA disease. Antcin K also inhibits disease activity in mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). Up until now, the effects of Antcin K upon cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) were unknown.

Methods: RA and healthy synovial tissue samples (n = 10 in each group) were retrieved from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database (accession code: GDS5401) to compare CAM and monocyte marker expressions. In addition, synovial tissue samples from six RA patients and six patients undergoing arthroscopy for trauma/joint derangement (healthy controls) were subjected to immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis. mRNA and protein expression levels were analyzed in RASFs using RT-qPCR (Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction) and Western blot. RASFs were incubated with Antcin K and examined for monocyte adherence by fluorescence microscopy. Ankle joint tissue specimens from a CIA mouse model and healthy controls were stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and Safranin-O/Fast Green to examine histological changes and evidence of bone loss. IHC analysis determined levels of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and CD11b in CIA ankle tissue and clinical synovial tissue.

Results: Levels of VCAM-1 expression were higher in the GEO database specimens and the study’s clinical samples of RA synovial tissue compared with the healthy specimens. Antcin K dose-dependently inhibited VCAM-1 expression and monocyte adhesion in RASFs. Antcin K also significantly inhibited levels of VCAM-1 and monocyte CD11b expression in CIA tissue. These effects appeared to be mediated by MEK1/2-ERK, p38, and AP-1 signaling.

Conclusions: Antcin K seems promising for the treatment of RA and deserves further investigations.


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Author Biography

Yueh-Hsiung Kuo

Department of Chinese Pharmaceutical Sciences and Chinese Medicine Resources Lecturing Professor


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How to Cite
Achudhan D., Chang S. L.-Y., Liu S.-C., Lin Y.-Y., Huang W.-C., Wu Y.-C., Huang C.-C., Tsai C.-H., Ko C.-Y., Kuo Y.-H., & Tang C.-H. (2022). Antcin K inhibits VCAM-1-dependent monocyte adhesion in human rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts. Food & Nutrition Research, 66.
Original Articles