Effects of Arthrocen, an avocado/soy unsaponifiables agent, on inflammatory mediators and gene expression in human chondrocytes

FEBS Open Bio. 2017 Jan 9;7(2):187-194. doi: 10.1002/2211-5463.12176. eCollection 2017 Feb.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic joint disease characterized by pain and stiffness. Recently, there has been great interest in the use of plant-derived compounds and supplements in managing the symptoms of OA. Arthrocen is a plant-based supplement consisting of avocado and soy unsaponifiable extracts in a 1 : 2 ratio. In an effort to unravel the potential mechanisms of its action on the cellular level, we utilized an in vitro assay to study its effects on cultured human chondrocytes. By pairing this assay with protein arrays on inflammatory markers, RNA-Seq with downstream pathway analysis, and lipidomics on eicosanoids, we were able to further define its action at the molecular level. Specifically, we found a role for Arthrocen in attenuating the inflammatory response both at the protein and mRNA level. Furthermore, we discovered that Arthrocen diminished prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) levels in response to an inflammatory trigger. Additionally, unlike traditional COX-2 inhibitors, this response rather specifically attenuated PGE2 levels in the presence of inflammation and without lowering levels of other eicosanoids. This implies that Arthrocen could potentially bring about the reduced pain produced by COX-2 inhibitors without the known side effects of COX-2 inhibition.

Keywords: Arthrocen; RNA‐Sequencing; avocado soy unsaponifiables; chondrocytes; eiscosanoids; osteoarthritis.