Ethnopharmacological relevance: Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. belonging to the family Convolvulaceae, known as dodder is an Indian traditional medicinal plant with claims of antibacterial, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory properties in literature.
Aim of the study: Present study was designed to investigate the protective effect of extracts of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. against adjuvant induced arthritis.
Materials and methods: Arthritis was induced by intradermal injection of 0.1 ml of a 0.4% Complete Freund’s adjuvant. Arthritic rats were treated with methanol and aqueous extract of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. MECR & AECR (300 mg/kg body weight, p.o.) respectively from the beginning of the study. Diclofenac sodium (10 mg/kg body weight, p.o.) was used as standard treatment. Protection against arthritis was investigated using various parameters like paw thickness, changes in whole body weight, weight of spleen and thymus, pain in inflammation by using thermal stimulus, radiological and histological analysis of the joint and serum levels of biochemical markers and inflammatory mediators (TNF-α and IL-6). Methanol extract of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. (MECR) was fractionalized and its fraction was subjected to IR and LC/MS analysis.
Results: Treatment of arthritic rats with methanol and aqueous extracts of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. significantly protected the animals from the arthritic changes as compared to the arthritic control group. Elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6), lipid peroxidation and other biochemical and pathological changes associated with arthritis were normalized by the treatment of MECR and AECR which was also evident from the radiological and histological analysis of the joints. Pain associated with arthritis was significantly inhibited by Cuscuta reflexa Roxb..IR and LC-MS analysis of fraction isolated from MECR was identified as Quercetin.
Conclusion: Results suggest significant antiinflammatory and antiarthritic effects produced by MECR and AECR. Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. may serve as a candidate with strong potential to be useful in arthritis.