Objective: To determine the effects of the antioxidant resveratrol on the functions of human chondrocytes in osteoarthritis (OA).
Methods: Chondrocytes and cartilage explants were isolated from OA patients undergoing knee replacement surgery. Effects of resveratrol in the presence or absence of interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) stimulation were assessed by measurement of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) and leukotriene B(4) (LTB(4)) synthesis, cyclooxygenase (COX) activity, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression, and proteoglycan production. To explore the mechanisms of action of resveratrol, its effects on mitochondrial function and apoptosis were examined by assessing mitochondrial membrane potential, ATP levels, cytochrome c release, and annexin V staining.
Results: Resveratrol inhibited both spontaneous and IL-1beta-induced PGE(2) production by >20% (P < 0.05) and by 80% (P < 0.001), respectively; similarly, LTB(4) production was reduced by >50% (P < 0.05). The production of PGE(2) was inhibited via a 70-90% suppression of COX-2 expression and enzyme activity (P < 0.05). Resveratrol also promoted anabolic effects in OA explant cultures, by elevating proteoglycan synthesis and decreasing production of MMPs 1, 3, and 13. Pretreatment of OA chondrocytes with resveratrol blocked mitochondrial membrane depolarization, loss of mitochondrial biomass, and IL-1beta-induced ATP depletion. Similarly, IL-1beta-mediated induction of the apoptotic markers cytochrome c and annexin V was also inhibited by resveratrol. Exogenous addition of PGE(2) abolished the protective effects of resveratrol on mitochondrial membrane integrity, ATP levels, expression of apoptotic markers, and DNA fragmentation.
Conclusion: Resveratrol protects against IL-1beta-induced catabolic effects and prevents chondrocyte apoptosis via its inhibition of mitochondrial membrane depolarization and ATP depletion. These beneficial effects of resveratrol are due, in part, to its capacity to inhibit COX-2-derived PGE(2) synthesis. Resveratrol may therefore protect against oxidant injury and apoptosis, which are main features of progressive OA.