Beneficial effects of tempol, a membrane-permeable radical scavenger, in a rodent model of collagen-induced arthritis

Salvatore Cuzzocrea, Michelle C. Mcdonald, Helder Mota-Filipe, Emanuela Mazzon, Giuseppina Costantino, Domenico Britti, Giuseppe Mazzullo, Achille P. Caputi, Christoph Thiemermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To investigate the effects of tempol, a membrane-permeable radical scavenger, in rats with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). Methods. CIA was induced in Lewis rats by intradermal injection of 100 μl of an emulsion of 100 μg of bovine type II collagen (CII) in complete Freund's adjuvant (FCA) at the base of the tail. On day 21, a second injection of CII in FCA was administered. Results. Lewis rats developed an erosive arthritis of the hind paws when immunized with CII in FCA. Macroscopic evidence of CIA first appeared as periarticular erythema and edema in the hind paws. The incidence of CIA was 100% by day 27 in the CII-challenged rats, and the severity of CIA progressed over a 35-day period. Radiographs revealed focal resorption of bone, with osteophyte formation in the tibiotarsal joint, and soft tissue swelling. The histopathologic features included erosion of the cartilage at the joint margins. Treatment of rats with tempol (10 mg/kg/day intraperitoneally) starting at the onset of arthritis (day 23) delayed the development of the clinical signs on days 24-35 and improved the histologic status of the knee and paw. Immunohistochemical analysis for nitrotyrosine and poly(ADP-ribose) synthetase (PARS) revealed positive staining in the inflamed joints of CII-treated rats. The degree of nitrotyrosine and PARS staining was markedly reduced in tissue sections obtained from CII-treated rats that had received tempol. Furthermore, radiographs revealed protection against bone resorption and osteophyte formation in the joints of tempol- treated rats. Conclusion. This study is the first to provide evidence that tempol, a small molecule that permeates biologic membranes and scavenges reactive oxygen species, attenuates the degree of chronic inflammation and tissue damage associated with CIA in the rat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-328
Number of pages9
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Rheumatology


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