A citrus flavonoid, nobiletin, suppresses production and gene expression of matrix metalloproteinase 9/gelatinase B in rabbit synovial fibroblasts

J Rheumatol. 2000 Jan;27(1):20-5.


Objective: Flavonoids including nobiletin are known to exert many biological actions in vitro. We investigated the chondroprotective effect of citrus flavonoids, especially nobiletin, using cultured rabbit synovial fibroblasts and articular chondrocytes.

Methods: We examined the effects of citrus flavonoids on the production and gene expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2)production in rabbit synovial fibroblasts.

Results: Six flavonoids isolated from Citrus depressa Rutaceae including tangeretin, 6-demethoxytangeretin, nobiletin, 5-demethylnobiletin, 6-demethoxynobiletin, and sinensetin suppressed the interleukin 1 (IL-1) induced production of proMMP-9/progelatinase B in rabbit synovial cells in a dose dependent manner (<64 microM); nobiletin most effectively suppressed proMMP-9 production along with the decrease in its mRNA. Nobiletin also reduced IL-1 induced production of PGE2 in the synovial cells, but did not modify the synthesis of total protein. These suppressive effects of nobiletin were also observed in rabbit articular chondrocytes. Nobiletin inhibited proliferation of rabbit synovial fibroblasts in the growth phase.

Conclusion: These results suggest nobiletin is a novel antiinflammatory candidate that has the potential to inhibit PGE2 production, matrix degradation of the articular cartilage, and pannus formation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Dinoprostone / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Dinoprostone / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / enzymology*
  • Flavones / pharmacology*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / biosynthesis*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • Rabbits
  • Synovial Membrane / cytology


  • Flavones
  • Flavonoids
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • 6-demethoxytangeretin
  • nobiletin
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • Dinoprostone