Umbelliferone Inhibits Migration, Invasion and Inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis Fibroblast-Like Synoviocytes and Relieves Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis in Rats by Blockade of Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling Pathway

Am J Chin Med. 2022;50(7):1945-1962. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X22500835. Epub 2022 Aug 20.


Umbelliferone (UMB), a natural coumarin compound, has been reported to possess anti-rheumatic effects on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experimental models, but its potential role of UMB in regulating migration, invasion and inflammation of RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) remain unclear. Herein, MTT assay was performed to confirm the non-cytotoxic concentrations (10, 20, and 40[Formula: see text][Formula: see text]M) and the treatment time (24[Formula: see text]h) of UMB on TNF-[Formula: see text]-stimulated RA FLS (MH7A cells) in vitro. Results of wound-healing, transwell and phalloidin staining assays revealed that UMB inhibited TNF-[Formula: see text]-induced migration, invasion and F-actin cytoskeletal reorganization in MH7A. Results of ELISA, western blot and gelatin zymography indicated that UMB decreased the productions of pro-inflammatory factors, including IL-1[Formula: see text], IL-6, IL-8, MMP-2 and MMP-9, and inhibited MMP-2 activity in TNF-[Formula: see text]-stimulated MH7A cells. In vivo, UMB (25[Formula: see text]mg/kg and 50[Formula: see text]mg/kg) relieved the joint damage and synovial inflammation in rats with adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA). Mechanistically, UMB could suppress Wnt/[Formula: see text]-catenin signaling both in TNF-[Formula: see text]-induced MH7A cells and in AIA rat synovium, evidenced by decreasing Wnt1 protein level, activating GSK-3[Formula: see text] kinase by blocking GSK-3[Formula: see text] (Ser9) phosphorylation, and reducing the protein level and nuclear translocation of [Formula: see text]-catenin. Importantly, combined use of lithium chloride (a Wnt/[Formula: see text]-catenin signaling agonist) eliminated the inhibitory effects of UMB on migration, invasion and inflammation in vitro and the anti-arthritic effects of UMB in vivo. We concluded that UMB inhibited TNF-[Formula: see text]-induced migration, invasion and inflammation of RA FLS and attenuated the severity of rat AIA through its ability to block Wnt/[Formula: see text]-catenin signaling pathway.

Keywords: 7-Hydroxycoumarin; Coumarin; Fibroblast-like Synoviocytes; Inflammation; Invasion; Migration; Rheumatoid Arthritis; Umbelliferone; Wnt/[Formula: see text]-catenin Signaling Pathway..

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Catenins / metabolism
  • Catenins / pharmacology
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / metabolism
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Synovial Membrane / metabolism
  • Synoviocytes* / metabolism
  • Umbelliferones / pharmacology
  • Umbelliferones / therapeutic use
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway


  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3
  • Umbelliferones
  • Catenins