Biological effects of the plant-derived polyphenol resveratrol in human articular cartilage and chondrosarcoma cells

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Stilbenes; Cartilage, Articular; Chondrosarcoma; Chondrocytes


Cell Biology


The natural phytoestrogen resveratrol (RSV) may have therapeutic potential for arthritic conditions. RSV is chondroprotective for articular cartilage in rabbit models for arthritis, but its biological effects on human articular cartilage and chondrosarcoma cells are unknown. Effects of RSV on human articular cartilage homeostasis were studied by assessing production of matrix-degrading enzymes (MMP-13, ADAMTS-4, and ADAMTS-5), as well as proteoglycan production and synthesis. The counteractions of RSV against catabolic factors (e.g., FGF-2 or IL-1beta) were examined by in vitro and ex vivo using monolayer, three-dimensional alginate beads and cartilage explants cultures, respectively. RSV improves cell viability of articular chondrocytes and effectively antagonizes cartilage-degrading protease production that was initiated by catabolic and/or anti-anabolic cytokines in human articular chondrocytes. RSV significantly also enhances BMP7-promoted proteoglycan synthesis as assessed by (35) S-sulfate incorporation. Protein-DNA interaction arrays suggest that RSV inhibits the activation of transcription factors involved in inflammation and cartilage catabolic signaling pathways, including direct downstream regulators of MAPK (e.g., AP-1, PEA3) and NFkappaB. RSV selectively compromises survival of human chondrosarcoma cells, but not primary articular chondrocytes, revealing cell-specific activity of RSV on non-tumorigenic versus tumor-derived cells. We propose that RSV exerts its chondroprotective functions, in part, by deactivating p53-induced apoptosis in human primary chondrocytes, but not human chondrosarcoma. Our findings suggest that RSV has potential as a unique biologic treatment for both prevention and treatment of cartilage degenerative diseases. J. Cell. Physiol. (c) 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

DOI of Published Version



J Cell Physiol. 2012 Jan 17. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24049. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of cellular physiology

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PubMed ID