Cryptotanshinone ameliorates the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus by blocking T cell proliferation.


Institute of Basic Research in Clinical Medicine, College of Basic Medical Science, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310053, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, devastating autoimmune disorder associated with severe organ damage. Recently, the role of Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) in murine lupus has been described, suggesting the involvement of STAT3 signaling in the development of SLE. Cryptotanshinone (CTS) is an effective inhibitor of STAT3; however its potential as a SLE treatment remains to be explored. To determine the function of CTS in SLE, we treated MRL/lpr female mice with CTS. Firstly, we found CTS treatment reversed the elevated STAT3 signaling of spleens in lupus-prone MRL/lpr mice, accompanying with a dramatically decreased number of T cells, especially double-negative (DN) T cells. Further research showed that CTS inhibited T cell proliferation via suppressing of STAT3 activation in vitro and in vivo. Consistently, we also proved that CTS treatment significantly alleviated autoimmune response including notably diminished skin lesions, reduced spleen size and increased life span. In addition, CTS treatment decreased the levels of auto-antibodies and pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as normalized structure and function of kidneys. All these data suggested that CTS treatment depressed STAT3 phosphorylation, which resulted in blocked DN T cell proliferation and finally attenuated the spontaneous SLE development. Taken together, our data identify CTS as a potential therapeutic drug for SLE patients.


Cryptotanshinone,STAT3,Systemic lupus erythematosus,T cell proliferation,

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