Document Type: Research article
Autoimmune Diseases Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Department of Immunology, School of Medical, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Department of Chemistry, Payame Noor University, Shiraz, Iran.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common autoimmune diseases. Carvacrol,
an important natural terpenoid product in aromatic plants such as thyme, has shown antiinflammatory
effects in animal models of arthritis. However, its poor water solubility and
high volatility have limited its application. In the present study in order to overcome this
problem, we encapsulated carvacrol in the bovine serum albumin (BSA) nanoparticles and
examined its therapeutic and immunomodulatory effects in adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA).
Carvacrol-loaded BSA nanoparticles were prepared by desolvation method. Nanoparticles
had encapsulation efficiency (EE) of 67.7 ± 6.9% and loading capacity (LC) of 26.6 ± 2%.
The size of particles was 148 ± 25 nm and they had monomodal distribution. After arthritis
induction, the rats were treated intraperitoneally with nanoparticle for every 3 days until day
28. The treatment of the rats with 375 mg/mL carvacrol-loaded BSA nanoparticle significantly
decreased clinical severity score (27.5 ± 9.8%, p = 0.008), erythrocyte sedimentation rate
(33.4 ± 10%, p = 0.02), nitric oxide production (82.3 ± 2.6%, p = 0.004) and interleukin (IL)-
17 gene expression (55.1 ± 8.2%, p = 0.003) compared to the untreated arthritic group. A
higher reduction in inflammation severity in arthritic rats treated with carvacrol-loaded BSA in
comparison to those treated with carvacrol alone was observed. In conclusion, encapsulation
of carvacrol in nanoparticles reduced arthritis signs and release of NO and IL-17 inflammatory
cytokine and therefore is suggested to be considered as a good approach for improving the
therapeutic applications of carvacrol in RA.