Objective: To verify the effects of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) on osteoclast differentiation and on experimental arthritis in mice.
Methods: Human osteoclasts were differentiated from peripheral blood monocytes. The effects of EGCG were examined by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining, bone resorption assay, Western blotting, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Arthritis was induced in mice by injecting a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies against collagen. EGCG (20 microg/gm body weight) was administered intraperitoneally every day from day 0 through the end of the experiments (day 15). The effects of EGCG were determined by assessments of joint swelling, histologic changes, and TRAP staining on day 15.
Results: EGCG reduced the generation of TRAP-positive multinucleated cells, bone resorption activity, and osteoclast-specific gene expression without affecting cell viability. EGCG down-regulated expression of nuclear factor of activated T cells c1 (NF-ATc1), but not of NF-kappaB, c-Fos, and c-Jun, suggesting that down-regulation of NF-ATc1 is one of the molecular bases of EGCG action. Additionally, EGCG treatment ameliorated clinical symptoms and reduced histologic scores in arthritic mice (P < 0.05). The in vivo effect of EGCG on osteoclast differentiation was not clear in this model, probably because EGCG suppressed the inflammation itself.
Conclusion: EGCG suppressed osteoclast differentiation and ameliorated experimental arthritis in mice over the short term. It remains to be established whether EGCG is useful for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.