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January-April ,2014
Vol.33 - No.1
Jatropha curcas leaves exert anti-arthritic activity
on adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats
Hanif Nasiatul Baroroh*, Iskandar Sobri*, Eka Prasasti Nur Rachmani*,
Triana Hertiani**, and Zullies Ikawati**
Jatropha curcas leaves have been proven to be anti-inflammatory and
antioxidant. In this study we examined the antiarthritic effects of ethanolic
extract of J. curcas leaves using adjuvant induced arthritis (AIA) in rats.
Male Wistar rats were divided into 6 groups (n=8), consisting of normal group
(0.9% NaCl), control group (complete Freund’s adjuvant/CFA 1 mg/ml), sodium
diclofenac group at a dose of 6.75 mg/kg (p.o), ethanolic extract of J.curcas
groups at doses of 150 mg/kg (p.o), 300 mg/kg (p.o) and 600 mg/kg (p.o).
Each group was induced by 0.2 ml CFA on day 1 and a booster injection on day
5. Extracts of J. curcas were administered on days 14-28. Arthritic scores were
determined, then analyzed using Kruskal Wallis followed by Mann Whitney
tests. Mobility scores were analyzed using one way analysis of variance, followed
by least significant difference multiple comparison test. Arthritic joint
histopathology was observed on day 29.
The results showed that the ethanolic extract of J. curcas leaves at doses of
150 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg and 600 mg/kg significantly reduced arthritis scores
(p<0.05) compared to control group (CFA). The J. curcas leaf extract at doses
of 150 and 300 mg/kg BW decreased mobility scores. Histopathology studies
showed that the J. curcas extract reduced edema and cartilage destruction in
arthritic joints.
*Department of Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and
Health Sciences
Jenderal Soedirman University
**Faculty of Pharmacy
Gadjah Mada University
Hanif Nasiatul Baroroh,
S.Farm, Apt., M.Sc
Department of Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and
Health Sciences
Universitas Jenderal
Jl. Dr. Soeparno
Karangwangkal, Purwokerto
Jawa Tengah 53146
Email: [email protected]
Univ Med 2014;33:3-10
The J. curcas leaf extract had anti-arthritic effects by reducing arthritis scores
and mobility scores. The extract should be further examined as a potential
candidate for anti-arthritic therapies.
Keywords : Antiarthritic, Jatropha curcas, adjuvant induced arthritis, rats
Baroroh, Sobri, Rachmani, et al
Jatropha curcas for arthritis
Daun Jatropha curcas memiliki aktivitas antiartitis terhadap
adjuvant-induced arthritis pada tikus
Daun Jarak Pagar (Jatropha curcas) merupakan salah satu tanaman herbal Indonesia yang telah terbukti sebagai
antioksidan dan antiinflamasi. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk menilai aktivitas antiartritis ekstrak etanol daun
Jarak Pagar pada tikus dengan model adjuvant induced arthritis (AIA).
Tikus wistar jantan dibagi menjadi 6 kelompok (n=8), terdiri dari kelompok normal (NaCl 0,9%), kelompok kontrol
(complete Freund’s adjuvant/CFA), natrium diklofenak dengan dosis 6,75 mg/kg BB (p.o), dan kelompok ekstrak
etanol daun J. curcas dengan dosis 150 mg/kg BB (p.o), 300 mg/kg BB (p.o) dan 600 mg/kg BB (p.o). Setiap
kelompok diinduksi dengan 0,2 ml CFA (1 mg/ml) pada hari ke-1 dan diberikan injeksi booster dengan 0,1 ml CFA
(1 mg/ml) pada hari ke-5. Ekstrak J. curcas diberikan pada hari ke 14-28. Skor artritis diukur, kemudian dianalisis
dengan uji Kruskal Wallis dilanjutkan uji Mann Whitney. Skor mobilitas diukur dan dianalisis dengan one way
analysis of variance dilanjutkan dengan least significant difference multiple comparison test. Histopatologi sendi
tibioarsal diamati pada hari ke-29.
Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa ekstrak etanol daun J. curcas pada dosis 150 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg dan 600 mg/
kg mampu menurunkan skor artritis secara signifikan (p<0,05) dibandingkan dengan kelompok kontrol. Ekstrak
J.curcas dosis 150 mg/kg dan 300 mg/kg mampu menurunkan skor mobilitas. Hasil histopatologi sendi menunjukkan
bahwa J.curcas mampu menghambat edema dan destruksi kartilago pada jaringan sendi.
Ekstrak J. curcas memiliki aktivitas menurunkan artritis dan mobilitas sendi sehingga perlu diteliti lebih lanjut
potensinya sebagai antiartritis.
Kata kunci : Antiartritis, Jatropha curcas, adjuvant induced arthritis, tikus
Many plants have long been recognized as
important sources of therapeutically effective
medicines. Traditional medicine using plant
extracts continues to provide health coverage for
over 80% of the world’s population, especially
in the developing world. Recently, the use of
extracts from plants for arthritis treatment has
been promoted, especially after the withdrawal
of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
approved anti-inflammatory drugs. One such
plant that is widely used in Asia but that has not
been studied in a well-controlled experimental
trial to date, is the species Jatropha curcas.(1)
J.curcas belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae
and is used in Asian traditional medicine to cure
various ailments. Compounds that have been
isolated from J.curcas leaves include the
flavonoids apigenin and its glycosides vitexin and
isovitexin, the sterols stigmasterol, 3-D-sitosterol
and its 3-D-glucoside.(2) This plant is traditionally
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used in various disorders, such as ulcers, edema,
rheumatism, pain, and as a mouthwash.(3)
Previous studies have reported that the plant
has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and
analgesic effects that can be used as therapy in
managing inflammatory conditions or as
complementary therapy allowing patients to take
smaller doses of conventional anti-inflammatory
drugs.(4,5) Previous investigations reported that
ethanolic extracts of J.curcas leaves at a dose of
500 mg/kg exert their anti-inflammatory activity
in Wistar rats by decreasing neutrophil
recruitment. (6) The leaves of J.curcas had
antioxidant activity by inhibition of inducible
nitric oxide synthase (iNOS).(7)
Arthritis is an inflammatory disorder
which affects multiple joints and causes
cartilage erosion. It is a lifelong progressive
disease which produces significant morbidity
and premature mortality. Various inflammatory
mediators produce joint inflammation resulting
in pain, loss of function, joint destruction and
permanent deformity after a certain time if the
condition is left untreated.(8,9) This disease has
a world wide distribution but its pathogenesis
is not clearly understood. Although there are a
few antirheumatic drugs showing effectiveness
on the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, the side
effects and toxicity call for new and more
effective natural drugs.(10) Adjuvant-induced
arthritis is a chronic crippling, musculoskeletal
disorder that is the nearest approximation to
human rheumatoid arthritis for which there is
at present no medicine available effecting a
permanent cure.(11) The modern steroidal and
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used
for the amelioration of the symptoms of the
disease, but also produce severe side effects.
Over the years, an increasing proportion of
patients with arthritis are resorting to
complementary and alternative medicine for
their health needs. The aim of this study was to
evaluate the effect of an ethanolic extract of J.
curcas leaves on adjuvant-induced arthritis in
Vol. 33 No.1
Research design
This study used a completely randomized
design (CRD) of unidirectional pattern. The
research was carried out in the Laboratory of
Pharmaceutical Biology, Department of
Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health
Sciences, Jenderal Sudirman University,
Purwokerto for preparation of the extract; the
Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology,
Pharmaceutical Faculty of Gadjah Mada
University for the animal experimental study; and
the Laboratory of Pathology and Anatomy,
Medical Faculty of Gadjah Mada University,
Yogyakarta for the histopathology study. The
study was conducted from Juni to October 2013.
Studies were conducted on 48 male Wistar
rats weighing 110-170 g obtained from the
animal house in the Faculty of Pharmacy, Gadjah
Mada University. The number of rats was
determined by the formula of Federer; with the
anticipation of deaths (drop outs) of 30%, thus
the resulting total number of rats was 48.
Animals were acclimatized to experimental
conditions in cages and kept under standard
environmental conditions (22 ± 3°C; 12/12 h
light/dark cycle). Rats were allowed to feed and
water ad libitum.
Plant material
Karangwangkal, Purwokerto. Taxonomic
identification of the plant was made by the
Laboratory of Taxonomy, Faculty of Biology,
Jenderal Soedirman University.
Preparation of extract
The simplicia were cleaned and oven-dried
at the controlled temperature of 70°C, then
powdered by homogenizer. The crude drug
powder was macerated in 96% ethanol for 3x24
hours. The macerate was evaporated in a rotary
Baroroh, Sobri, Rachmani, et al
evaporator for ± 90 minutes in the temperature
range of 70-80°C, then evaporated over a water
bath to produce a thick extract, which was stored
in a refrigerator until used in the study.
Induction of arthritis
Freund’s adjuvant induced arthritis model
was used to assess the anti-arthritic activity of
the ethanolic extract of J.curcas in Wistar rats.
Each group was induced by 0.2 mL complete
Freund’s adjuvant (CFA 1 mg/ml) on day 1 and
a booster injection of 0.1 ml CFA (1 mg/ml) on
day 5 by intradermal injection.(12)
Intervention on adjuvant-induced arhritis
Forty-eight Wistar rats were divided into
six groups (n=8). They were fed a standard diet
and water was given ad libitum. The animal
subjects were assigned randomly into groups,
consisting of: (i) normal group, injected with
0.9% NaCl, (II) negative control group, induced
by CFA, (III) positive control group, given
sodium diclofenac at a dose of 6.75 mg/kg, and
(IV-VI) treatment groups, given ethanol extracts
J. curcas leaves at doses of 150 mg/kg, 300 mg/
kg and 600 mg/kg. The treatment extracts and
sodium diclofenac were administered orally on
days 14-28. On day 29, the animals were killed
by cervical dislocation.
Arthritis and mobility scores
The arthritis and mobility scores are
indicators of the severity of arthritis. The arthritis
and mobility scores were measured on days 0,
1, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 28.(13) Each paw was
scored on a scale of 0-4 for the degree of swelling,
erythema and deformity (maximum score 16 per
animal) as follows: 0 = normal, 1 = slight
erythema and/or swelling of the ankle or wrist,
2 = moderate erythema and/or swelling of ankle
or wrist, 3 = severe erythema and/or swelling of
ankle or wrist and 4 = complete erythema and
swelling of toes or fingers and ankle or wrist
and inability to bend the ankle or wrist. Whole
animal mobility was scored between 0 and 4
according to the following definitions: 0 =
Jatropha curcas for arthritis
normal, 1 = slightly impaired, 2 = major
impairment, 3 = does not step on paw and 4 = no
Histological processing and assessment of
arthritis damage
The rats were killed by cervical dislocation.
Knee joints were removed and fixed for 4 days
in 10% formaldehyde. After that the specimens
were processed for paraffin embedding and
preparation of tissue sections (7 ìm thick) and
were stained with hematoxylin and eosin.
Statistical analysis
The data were analyzed using SPSS
software version 17.0. All variables were checked
for normal distribution using the KolmogorovSmirnov one sample test. The arthritis scores
were analyzed using Kruskal Wallis followed by
Mann Whitney test (abnormal distribution).
Mobility scores were analyzed using one way
analysis of variance, followed by least significant
difference multiple comparison test. Values of
p<0.05 were regarded as statistically significant.
Ethical clearance
This study was accorded ethical clearance
by the Commision for Research Ethics for the
Medical and Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and
Health Sciences, Jenderal Soedirman University.
Throughout the 28-day study, all arthritic
rats showed persistent increases in both arthritis
and mobility scores. Following the injections of
CFA, the rats developed arthritis beginning from
the 8th day. In arthritic controls (group II), there
was an increase in arthritis scores in the rats until
the 28th day (Table 1). In the 28-day study it
was found that sodium diclofenac significantly
decreased the arthritic condition from the 20th
day after induction by Freund’s adjuvant
(p<0.05) (Table 1). The extract at a dose of 150
mg/kg significantly decreased the arthritis scores
after the 20th day (p<0.05) and there were
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Vol. 33 No.1
Table 1. Effect of J.curcas extracts on mobility scores in Freund’s
complete adjuvant induced arthritis in rats
Values expressed as mean ± S.E.M of 8 rats; a = p<0.05 compared with arthritic controls (CFA-induced); b=p<0.05
compared with standard drug (sodium diclofenac)
significant differences in arthritis scores
compared with sodium diclofenac on the 20th
day. Rats treated with J.curcas extract at doses
of 300 and 600 mg/ kg showed significant
decreases in arthritis scores (p<0.05) from the
20th to the 28th day compared to arthritic control
rats (Table 1).
In arthritic rats the mobility scores
increased (60%) on the 28th day compared with
the mobility scores on the 12th day (Table 2).
The mobility scores on the 12th day in arthritic
rats (control and treatment groups) were
increased compared with normal controls
(p<0.05). The J. curcas leaf extract at doses of
150, 300 and 600 mg/kg decreased mobility
scores on the 28th day and there were significant
differences with the arthritic control group
(p<0.05). Sodium diclofenac significantly
decreased mobility scores (p<0.05). There were
no significant differences in the activity of J.
curcas leaf extracts on mobility score at doses
of 150 and 300 mg/kg compared with sodium
diclofenac (Table 2).
The J. curcas extract decreased
inflammation, edema, and cartilage destruction
in arthritic joints. Figure 1 shows the histological
changes in joints of control and experimental
animals, as follows: Standard drug section
showing joint cavity with synovial membrane
lining and normal joint space in between two
articular cartilages. Section of joint cavity of
arthritic rats showing proliferation with
granulation tissue adjacent to the damaged
articular cartilage. Section of joint cavity of
Table 2. Effect of J.curcas extracts on mobility scores in
Freund’s complete adjuvant induced arthritis in rats
Values expressed as mean ± S.E.M of 8 rats; a = p<0.05 compared with normal controls; b = p<0.05 compared with
arthritic controls (CFA-induced); c = p<0.05 compared with standard drug (sodium diclofenac)
Baroroh, Sobri, Rachmani, et al
Jatropha curcas for arthritis
Figure 1. Histopathological representation of joints stained with H&E
(A) normal rat (B) control rat (C) diclofenac (6.75 mg/kg) treated rat (D) J. curcas 150 mg/kg treated rat,
(E) J. curcas 300 mg/kg treated rat, (F) J. curcas 600 mg/kg treated rat. Images (X 40 magnification) are
typical and representative of each study group, (I) Section of joint cavity of arthritic rats showing inflammation and (P) proliferation with granulation tissue adjacent to the damaged articular cartilage. Section of joint
cavity of rats on standard drug, J. curcas 150 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg and 600 mg/kg showing decreasing
inflammation, edema in arthritic joints and cartilage destruction
arthritic rats showing pannus. Section of joint
cavity of J. curcas treated rats showing normal
architecture of both cartilages.
This investigation on arthritic rats showed
joint swellings that were noticeable around the
ankle joints during the acute phase of arthritis
and were due to edema of periarticular tissues
such as ligaments and joint capsules. The
progress of the arthritic condition was evident
around day 12 which indicated systemic
inflammation.(14) The joint swellings were found
to be increasing in the initial phase of
inflammation and becoming constant in 2 weeks
(beginning on day 8). These increases in arthritis
and mobility scores have been found to be
associated with chronic inflamation. J. curcas
extract at doses of 150 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg and
600 mg/kg significantly suppressed the arthritis
of the paws in the chronic phase which may be
due to the suppression of inflammatory mediators
released as a result of induction by Freund’s
Release of various inflammatory mediators
including cytokines (IL-1B and TNF-alpha),
interferons and platelet derived growth factor
(PDGF) are responsible for the initiation of pain
along with swelling of the limbs and joints, bone
deformations and disability of joint function.(10)
This is because the activation of macrophages
results in the production of several cytokines
including IL 1, IL 6, interferon ã (IFN ã) and
TNF á which have been implicated in immune
arthritis. These mediators are responsible for the
pain, destruction of bone and cartilage that can
lead to severe disability.(10) Pro-inflammatory
cytokines such as IL-1â are potent inducers of
reactive oxygen species, including nitric oxide
and inflammatory mediators such as
prostaglandin E2, via enhanced expression of
inducible nitric oxide synthase.(15) Nitric oxide
can modulate adhesion of leukocytes to the
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vascular endothelium and the activity of
numerous enzymes, all of which can have an
impact on inflammatory process.(16)
Several studies have shown the antioxidant
and anti-inflammatory properties of flavonoids.
Recent studies have also shown that certain
flavonoids, especially flavone derivatives,
express their anti-inflammatory activity at least
in part by modulation of proinflammatory gene
expression such as cyclooxygenase-2, inducible
nitric oxide synthase, and several pivotal
cytokines.(17) Oskoueian et al.(7) found that the
methanol extract of J. curcas at a concentration
of 3.1 up to 200 ug/ml had inhibitory activity on
iNOS. The leaves of J. curcas were strong iNOS
inhibitor contributing to an anti-inflammatory
effect with an IC50 value of 93.5 ìg/ml and NO
scavenging activity of samples correlated well
with the levels of phenolics, flavonoids and
saponins present in the leaves.(7) Similar findings
on the antiinflammatory effect of extracts from
different parts of J. curcas plant have been
reported. Mujumdar and Misar (18) observed the
anti-inflammatory activity of topical application
of J. curcas root powder paste, on 12-Otetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) induced
ear inflammation in albino mice. Similarly, Uche
and Aprioku (19) reported the inhibitory activity
of J. curcas leaf extract (10-80 mg/kg BB), on
egg-albumin induced inflammation in Wistar
albino rats. J. curcas extract (150 mg/kg) had
anti-inflammatory effects on carrageenaninduced arthritis in rats. Saxena et al.(2) reported
that the compounds which were found to be antiarthritic are the flavonoids apigenin and its
glycosides vitexin and isovitexin, the sterols
stigmasterol, 3-D-sitosterol and its 3-Dglucoside.
Though the actual mechanism of
suppressing the arthritic condition is not known,
it can be correlated with the presence of
flavonoids in suppressing the inflammation and
exerting antioxidant activity. (4) Synergistic
activity between polyphenolic compounds in the
extract may possibly contribute to the antioxidant
activity.(20) The mechanism of action of these
Vol. 33 No.1
compounds is not known. Jatropha curcas leaves
also are antioxidants and free-radical scavengers,
which may aid in suppressing reactive oxygen
species (ROS) that stimulate inflammatory
responses. The leaves of J. curcas also
demonstrated potent nitric oxide and superoxide
radicals scavenging (antioxidant) activity.(21)
Igbinosa et al. (22) showed that phenolic
compounds have the ability to absorb and
neutralize free radicals, and disable oxygen
species and hydroxyl radicals. From the results
observed in the current investigation, it may be
concluded that the J. curcas extract (at doses of
150 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg and 600 mg/kg) can be
employed in potential anti-arthritic formulations
since it was active in adjuvant-induced arthritis.
A potential limitation of this study that must be
considered is that only a limited number of rats
were used for this study as indicated by the
animal ethical clearance. It would provide better
conclusions if validated with a larger sample size.
The results showed that J. curcas leaf had
anti-arthritic activities that should be further
examined as a potential candidate to be exploited
for anti-arthritic therapies.
The authors thank to Directorate General
of Higher Education for financial support,
Gadjah Mada University for providing necessary
facilities to carry out the research work,
Primawati Kusumaningrum and Nadhifa J. Ali
for helping in animal experimental.
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