Protective effect of Capparis spinosa on chondrocytes

Life Sci. 2005 Sep 30;77(20):2479-88. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2004.12.051.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the in vitro chondroprotective effects of the lyophilised methanolic extract from flowering buds of Capparis Spinosa L (LECS). This plant, common to the Mediterranean basin, has been used by the traditional medicine for its diuretic and antihypertensive effects and also in certain pathological conditions related to uncontrolled lipid peroxidation. The extract contains many constituents, in particular some flavonoids (kaempferol and quercetin derivatives) and hydrocinammic acids with several known biological effects such as the anti-inflammatory and the antioxidant ones. In this study, we assayed the effect of LECS on human chondrocytes cultures stimulated by proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and we determined the production of key molecules released during chronic inflammatory events (nitric oxide, glycosaminoglycans, prostaglandins and reactive oxygen species). We observed that LECS was able to counteract the harmful effects induced by IL-1beta. This protection appeared to be greater than that elicited by indomethacin, which is usually employed in joint diseases. Since LECS possess a chondroprotective effect, it might be used in the management of cartilage damage during the inflammatory processes.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Capparis / chemistry*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects*
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Flowers / chemistry
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / toxicity*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Interleukin-1
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Dinoprostone