Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease resulting in joint destruction and disability in the adult population. The etiology of RA is not well understood and presently there is no known cure for this disease. The accumulation and proliferation of fibroblast-like synoviocytes may be involved in cartilage destruction. Both in vitro and in vivo studies support an anti-inflammatory role of dietary polyphenols, the bioactive constituents found in fruits and vegetables. The objective of this study was to investigate the anti-inflammatory role of blueberry polyphenols (BBPs) using rabbit synoviocytes stimulated with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). Rabbit synoviocytes (HIG-82) were treated with varying doses of BBPs and stimulated with TNFα. Stimulation of rabbit synoviocytes with the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα increased cell proliferation by ∼19% compared with the nonstimulated control. Cell proliferation was significantly decreased in a dose-dependent manner by the treatment with BBPs. Post-TNFα stimulation, cells treated with BBPs resulted in decreases in interleukin 1 beta and nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) concentration. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that matrix metalloproteinase 3 increased fivefold in the control TNFα-stimulated group, but was decreased by threefold in the blueberry treatment group. These results suggest that downregulation of proinflammatory cytokines and transcription factor NFκB by naturally occurring bioactives such as BBPs may be a potential therapeutic strategy for reducing inflammation associated with RA.
Keywords: blueberries; inflammation; proliferation; rheumatoid arthritis; synoviocytes.