Enhancing the efficacy of Hypericum perforatum in the treatment of an experimental model of multiple sclerosis using gold nanoparticles: an in vivo study

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 Immunology Research Center, Department of Immunology and Allergy, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Laboratory Sciences, Faculty of Paramedicine, Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences, Rafsanjan, Iran. Immunology of Infectious Diseases Research Center, Research Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences, Rafsanjan, Iran

3 Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Jiroft University of Medical Sciences, Jiroft, Iran

4 Department of Medical Immunology, Afzalipour Faculty of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Objective: Hypericum perforatum is a herbal medicine used in traditional medicine for the treatment of depression due to its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory activities. Therefore, we evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of H. perforatum extract (HPE) in combination with gold nanoparticles (HPE-GNP) against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis.
Materials and Methods: EAE was induced in C57BL/6 mice with subcutaneous injection of MOG35-55 emulsified in complete Freund's adjuvant, and intraperitoneal pertussis toxin. Mice were treated with drugs in free (HPE) and nano-form (HPE-GNP) preparations. Splenocytes were isolated from all mice and the level of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines were evaluated by ELISA. The expression of T cells' transcription factors was also assessed using Real-Time PCR.
Results: Clinical score was reduced after HPE-GNP treatment. This change was associated with a decrease in the incidence and infiltration of inflammatory cells into the central nervous system. Additionally, treatment with HPE-GNP decreased the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-17A and IL-6) and increased anti-inflammatory cytokines (TGF-β, IL-10 and IL-4). The real-time analysis revealed a decrease in the level of T-bet and ROR-γt  but an increase in FoxP3 and GATA3 expression.
Conclusion: The current study demonstrated that HPE-GNP could potentially reduce clinical and pathological complications of EAE, but laboratory data showed that HPE-GNP was significantly more effective than HPE in the treatment of EAE.