Data_Sheet_1_Integrated Serum and Fecal Metabolomics Study of Collagen-Induced Arthritis Rats and the Therapeutic Effects of the Zushima Tablet.PDF

The Zushima tablet (ZT) has been used for decades in the clinical treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in China. However, its therapeutic mechanism is unclear. In this study, we aimed to explore the distinctive metabolic patterns in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) rats and evaluate the therapeutic effects of ZT on RA using untargeted serum and fecal metabolomics approaches based on gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Body weight, hind paw swelling, TNF-α and IL-1β levels, arthritis scores, and histopathological parameters were assessed. In the metabolomics study, 31 altered metabolites in the serum and 30 in the feces were identified by comparing the model with the control group using statistical processing. These altered metabolites revealed that the tricarboxylic acid cycle, glycolysis metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, and purine metabolism were disturbed in CIA rats, and most of these altered metabolites including l-isoleucine, l-aspartic acid, pyruvic acid, cholic acid, and hypoxanthine, were rectified by ZT. Furthermore, short-chain fatty acids in feces were quantitatively determined, and the results showed that ZT could regulate the levels of propionate, butyrate, and valerate in CIA rats. Then, gut microbiota were analyzed by 16S rRNA analysis. Our results showed that Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were the most abundant bacteria in rats. The levels of 19 types of bacteria at the family level were altered in RA rats, and most of them could be regulated by ZT. This study demonstrated that metabolomics analysis is a powerful tool for providing novel insight into RA and for elucidating the potential mechanism of ZT.