Notopterol (NOT) is one of the main constituents of the traditional Chinese medicinal herb Notopterygium incisum Ting ex H.T. Chang has anti-rheumatism activity, but the target of NOT remains unknown. Here we have demonstrated that orally or intraperitoneal administration of NOT exhibits significant therapeutic effects on the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model in both DBA/1J and C57/BL6 mice. NOT treatment in vivo and in vitro reduces production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in TNF?- or LPS/IFN?-stimulated macrophages via blocking the JAK2/3-STAT3/5 activation. Mechanistically, NOT directly binds JAK2 to inhibit its activity via Arg980, Asn981, and Leu932 in the JH1 domain. Importantly, expression of the L938A/R980A/N981A mutant in zebrafish significantly inhibited the in vivo inflammatory response after LPS injection, which showed no further inhibitory effect upon NOT treatment. Combination of NOT and an anti-TNF? antibodies could achieve a better therapeutic effect than anti-TNF? alone in the CIA model. We therefore suggest that as a specific JAK2/3 inhibitor, the natural compound NOT ameliorates pathology of RA, which might be useful to treat other JAK2/3-related diseases.
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