Anti-Arthritic and Immunomodulatory Potential of Methanolic, n-Hexane, and Ethyl Acetate Fractions of Bark of Acacia modesta on Complete Freund’s Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis in Rats
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and topic of interest for researchers due to its increasing frequency and limited treatment. Acacia modesta Wall is known to treat rheumatic disorders in the traditional system of medicinal plants. Traditional medicines are still required for the treatment of this disease due to the large number of side-effects caused by commercial medicines. In the current study, the antiarthritic potential of methanolic extract (AM-metha), n-hexane (AM-hexa) fraction, and ethyl acetate (AM-etha) fraction of the bark of A. modesta against a complete Freund’s adjuvant rat model was evaluated. Evaluation using a digital plethysmometer, macroscopic evaluation, and histopathological evaluation were conducted to determine the paw volume and arthritic scoring. ELISA was performed to assess the PGE2 levels. RT-PCR was used to evaluate the expression levels of MMP2, MMP3, MMP9, NF-κB, IL6, IL1β, TNFα, and VEGF. Biochemical and hematological analyses were also conducted. GC/MS was also carried out to analyze the presence of medicinal compounds. The data revealed a marked reduction in the paw volume, arthritic scoring, and histopathological parameters, indicating the anti-arthritic potential of the plant. Treatment with plant extracts and fractions markedly down-regulated MMP2, MMP3, MMP9, NF-κB, IL6, IL1β, TNFα, and VEGF levels. Similarly, PGE2 levels were also found to be ameliorated in the treatment groups, indicating the immunomodulatory property of plant bark. Plant treatment nearly normalized hematological parameters such as counts of WBCs, RBCs, and platelets, along with Hb content, thereby validating the anti-arthritic activity. GC/MS analysis disclosed the presence of strong anti-inflammatory compounds such as lupeol, oleic acid, and squalene. The study showed that A. modesta possesses anti-arthritic and immunomodulatory potential linked to significant down-regulation of pro-inflammatory and inflammatory biomarkers.