This invention combines the microfluidic and microelectronic devices and techniques required for the microminiaturization of cell culture and cell measurement systems to allow monitoring the response of populations of 1 to several hundred living cells. The instrument(s) allows for the detection of extracellular, membrane, and intracellular parameters; and the incorporation of closed-loop control techniques to continuously monitor the health of the cell and adjust the environmental and pharmacological parameters that control the cell.
The present invention provides for the use of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F extracts and purified components thereof in the treatment of inflammation or an immune disorder with concomitant lack of steroidal effect. Extracts of this plant (T2) bound to the glucocorticoid receptor and competitively inhibited glucocorticoid mediated cellular processes, such as dexamethasone binding to the glucocorticoid receptor, glucocorticoid mediated activation of target genes, dexamethasone dependent cellular growth, with concomitant inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 induction and inflammatory processes such as the production of prostaglandin E.sub.2. The T2 extract components triptolide and tripdiolide were effective inhibitors. The particular advantage provided by the methods herein is the treatment or prevention of inflammation and the concomitant lack of steroidal agonist effects and NSAID side effects. Conditions treatable by the present methods include inflammation and immune disorders including autoimmune disease.