Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease primarily affecting joints and is featured by chronic synovial inflammation and angiogenesis. We employed a bovine type-II collagen (BIIC)-induced Sprague-Dawley rat arthritis model and an in vitro RA model based on interleukin (IL)-1β-stimulated rat synovial cells (RSC-364) to explore the preventive effect of resveratrol on RA and the underlying mechanisms. We found that resveratrol ameliorated BIIC-elicited synovitis and RA-related pathological hallmarks such as inflammatory cell infiltration and angiogenesis in the synovial tissue. Also, BIIC-stimulated rats displayed increased serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species (ROS), as manifested by elevated serum malonaldehyde contents combined with reduced superoxide dismutase activity. It is noteworthy that resveratrol abolished BIIC-induced ROS and inflammation, confirming the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory actions of resveratrol in the context of RA. Furthermore, immunoblotting indicated that resveratrol downregulated the increase in the levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and that of the activated phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase in IL-1β-stimulated RSC-364 cells. Moreover, we observed that resveratrol-treated RSC-364 cells displayed both G0/G1 cell-cycle arrest and enhanced levels of apoptosis. Altogether, the present evidence established the preventive role of resveratrol in RA progression. Mechanistically, resveratrol inhibits MAPK signaling pathways, likely by reducing ROS accumulation, to suppress the inflammatory response and cell proliferation and to provoke cell apoptosis in the synovial tissue, along with mitigation of HIF-1α-mediated angiogenesis. Thus resveratrol appears to hold great potential for clinical translation as a novel RA therapeutic.
Keywords: MAPK; ROS; angiogenesis; resveratrol; rheumatoid arthritis (RA).