Celastrol, a triterpene derived from the Chinese medical herb Trypterygium wilfordii, has been shown to be an effective treatment in multiple complex diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and asthma. However, the most attractive function of celastrol is its anti-cancer effect. It has been shown to have very powerful anti-cancer activity in many kinds of cancer cell types with various treatment mechanisms. For example, it inhibited the growth of tumor cells by suppressing angiogenesis in prostate cancer and it inhibited IκBα kinase activation, proteasome activity, or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) expression to induce apoptosis.
Celastrol, also known as tripterine, is a triterpenoid compound extracted from the Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F. In China, this herb has been used in antirheumatic treatment for thousands of years. In recent years, celastrol has attracted attention due to its potential for use in anti-inflammation and neuron degenerative disease amelioration applications.
Celastrol is one such compound that was originally identified from traditional Chinese medicine (Thunder of God Vine) almost three decades ago and generally used for the treatment of inflammatory and auto-immune diseases. Celastrol has attracted great interest recently, especially for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities. The anti-inflammatory effects of this triterpene have been demonstrated in animal models of different inflammatory diseases, including arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, asthma, and systemic lupus erythematosus. This triterpene has also been found to inhibit the proliferation of a variety of tumor cells and suppress tumor initiation, promotion and metastasis in various cancer models in vivo.
Tripterygium wilfordii (of the family Celastraceae) is a chinese herb that is referred to as lei gong teng but more well known as Thunder God Vine. The plant is known as toxic although the root pulp is seen as pharmacologically active against inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and it appears the root extracts have some traditional usage against Rheumatoid Arthritis and (to use diction common to traditional medicine) for 'dispeling wind and eliminating dampness, dredging collaterals and relieving pain, reducing swelling and easing pain'. Although the vine being associated with adverse effects even at moderate doses (diarrhea, headache, nausea and infertility), and it has been noted that inadequate processing techniques can lead to vine contamination of root extracts.
Root bark extracts of the plant thunder of god vine (Tripterygium wilfordii) have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fever, inflammation, and various other health problems in man. Celastrol is a key constituent of thunder of god vine and possesses anti-inflammatory activities that have shown promising therapeutic effects in models of Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Numerous studies have furthermore shown that celastrol inhibits proliferation of various cancer cell lines in vitro and suppresses tumor growth in animal cancer models, as reviewed in. Studies in a cellular model of the inherited lysosomal storage disorder Gaucher's disease furthermore suggest that celastrol may be used to ameliorate diseases caused by protein misfolding through enhancing cellular protein folding and trafficking.
Celastrol is a potent anti-inflammatory that is extracted from the root bark of the Chinese Thunder of God vine (Tripterygium wilfordii Hook) an ivy-like vine in China. Celastrol was used for years as a natural remedy for inflammatory conditions.