Variations in C-reactive protein, plasma free radicals and fibrinogen values in patients with osteoarthritis treated with Pycnogenol

Redox Rep. 2008;13(6):271-6. doi: 10.1179/135100008X309019.


In a previous, double-blind, placebo-controlled study we evaluated the efficacy of a 3-month treatment with Pycnogenol for 156 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Pycnogenol significantly decreased joint pain and improved joint function as evaluated using the WOMAC score and walking performance of patients on a treadmill. In this study, we further investigated the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of Pycnogenol in a subset of the osteoarthritis patients presenting with elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) and plasma-free radicals. Elevated CRP levels have been suggested to be associated with disease progression in osteoarthritis. In our study, 29 subjects of the Pycnogenol group and 26 patients in the placebo group showed CRP levels higher than 3 mg/l at baseline. Comparison of blood specimens drawn at baseline and after 3-month treatment showed that Pycnogenol significantly decreased plasma free radicals to 70.1% of baseline values. Plasma CRP levels decreased from baseline 3.9 mg/l to 1.1 mg/l in the Pycnogenol group whereas the control group had initial values of 3.9 mg/l which decreased to 3.6 mg/l. The CRP decrease in the Pycnogenol was statistical significant as compared to the control group (P < 0.05). Fibrinogen levels were found to be lowered to 62.8% of initial values (P < 0.05) in response to Pycnogenol. No significant changes for plasma free radicals, CRP and fibrinogen were found in the placebo-treated group. The decrease of systemic inflammatory markers suggests that Pycnogenol may exert anti-inflammatory activity in osteoarthritic joints and patients did not present with other ailments or infections. The nature of the anti-inflammatory effects of Pycnogenol with regard to CRP warrants further investigation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism*
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Free Radicals / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / blood
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Flavonoids
  • Free Radicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • pycnogenols
  • Fibrinogen
  • C-Reactive Protein