The chondroprotective effects of ferulic acid on hydrogen peroxide-stimulated chondrocytes: inhibition of hydrogen peroxide-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines and metalloproteinase gene expression at the mRNA level

Inflamm Res. 2010 Aug;59(8):587-95. doi: 10.1007/s00011-010-0165-9. Epub 2010 Mar 28.


Objective: The objective of the study is to evaluate the effect of ferulic acid (FA), an antioxidant from the Chinese herb Dong-Gui [Chinese angelica, Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels], on the regulation of various genes in hydrogen peroxide-stimulated porcine chondrocytes at the mRNA level.

Methods: The effect of FA and the effective concentration of FA on porcine chondrocytes was evaluated by the lactate dehydrogenase, WST-1, crystal violet assay, and a chemical luminescence assay. Gene expression in hydrogen peroxide-stimulated chondrocytes either pre- or post-treated with FA was evaluated by real-time PCR.

Results: Chondrocytes pre-treated with 40 microM FA decreased the hydrogen peroxide-induced interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and MMP-1 and partially restored SOX9 gene expression. Post-treatment with 40 microM FA also decreased the expression of MMP-1 and MMP-13.

Conclusion: FA decreased the hydrogen peroxide-induced IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, MMP-1 and MMP-13 and increased SOX9 gene expression. These findings suggest that FA may prove to be important in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Further research is needed.

MeSH terms

  • Angelica sinensis
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects*
  • Chondrocytes / physiology
  • Coumaric Acids / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines* / genetics
  • Cytokines* / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1beta / genetics
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases* / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases* / metabolism
  • Oxidants / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Coumaric Acids
  • Cytokines
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Oxidants
  • RNA, Messenger
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • ferulic acid
  • angelicae sinensis extract
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases