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Rhein, a diacerhein-derived metabolite, modulates the expression of matrix degrading enzymes and the cell proliferation of articular chondrocytes by inhibiting ERK and JNK-AP-1 dependent pathways

F. Legendre, P. Bogdanowicz, G. Martin, F. Domagala, S. Leclercq, J.-P. Pujol, H. Ficheux


2007 Vol.25, N°4
PI 0546, PF 0555
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PMID: 17888210 [PubMed]


To determine the effects of rhein on the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1, -3, 13) and ADAMTs 4, 5 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin type-I repeat)/aggrecanases-1, -2 in interleukin-1-stimulated bovine articular chondrocytes, and to investigate the signalling pathways involved in the effects of the drug on gene expression and cell proliferation.
Bovine chondrocytes were treated with 10<sup>-4</sup> M rhein for 18 h, followed by 10 ng/ml IL-1Β for 30 min (cytoplasmic extracts) or 24 h (RNA extraction and EMSA). mRNA was assessed by RT-PCR for the expression of MMPs and aggrecanases, and the phosphorylation of MAP kinases was studied by Western blotting. NF-κB and AP-1 DNA binding were determined by gel retardation assay. The effects of inhibitors of these signalling pathways were compared to those of rhein. The proliferation of human chondrocytes and synoviocytes treated with the drug was also investigated.
IL-1Β-induced stimulation of the MMPs and aggrecanase-1 was markedly inhibited by rhein. The drug reduced IL-1Β-induced NF-κB and AP-1 DNA binding, as well as the phosphorylation of ERK and JNK. Similar effects were produced by the specific inhibitors of these signalling pathways. In addition, rhein reduced the proliferation of both human chondrocytes and synoviocytes.
Our data indicate that rhein may reduce the deleterious effects of IL-1Β on osteoarthritic cartilage through its effects on the ERK- and JNK-dependent pathways. Both its anti-catabolic and anti-proliferative properties may explain its value in the treatment of joint diseases.

Rheumatology Article