A study from the University of Madras, India, showed that celastrol — a component of an extract from the Thunder God Vine root — was able to reduce inflammation, collagen deposition, and alveolar damage in a rat model of pulmonary fibrosis (PF). The effects were likely the result of a broad activation of antioxidant and antifibrotic activities.
The Thunder God Vine is a traditional Chinese remedy reported to have anti-tumor and antioxidative properties. Studies have shown the compound blocks activation of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-8, and blocks cell division. A recent study in the journal Cell also showed the substance might be a potential obesity treatment.
Researchers in the study titled “Celastrol enhances Nrf2 mediated antioxidant enzymes and exhibits anti-fibrotic effect through regulation of collagen production against bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis“ and published in the journal of Chemico-Biological Interactions, induced pulmonary fibrosis in rats by injecting bleomycin, a well-known PF model. The fibrotic rats had reduced antioxidant enzyme activity, and increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in their lungs.
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