Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disorder with an important inflammatory component in joints. Neutrophils are the most abundant leukocytes in inflamed joints, and play an essential role in the initiation and progression of RA. Neutrophil effector mechanisms include the release of proinflammatory cytokines, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS), and granules containing degradative enzymes, which can cause further damage to the tissue and amplify the neutrophil response. Therefore, the modulation of neutrophil migration and functions is a potential target for pharmacological intervention in arthritis. The pharmacologic treatment options for RA are diverse. The current treatments are mostly symptomatic and have side effects, high costs, and an increased risk of malignancies. Because of these limitations, there is a growing interest in the use of natural products as therapies or adjunct therapies. Herbal products have attracted considerable interest over the past decade because of their multiple beneficial effects such as their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and immunomodulatory properties. This chapter focuses on the role of neutrophils in the pathogenesis of arthritis and the action of substances from natural products as putative antirheumatic therapies.
Part of the book: Role of Neutrophils in Disease Pathogenesis