Experimental cell research

Production of reactive oxygen species by withaferin A causes loss of type collagen expression and COX-2 expression through the PI3K/Akt, p38, and JNK pathways in rabbit articular chondrocytes.

PMID 24016823


Withaferin A (WFA) is a major chemical constituent of Withania somnifera, also known as Indian ginseng. Many recent reports have provided evidence of its anti-tumor, anti-inflammation, anti-oxidant, and immune modulatory activities. Although the compound appears to have a large number of effects, its defined mechanisms of action have not yet been determined. We investigated the effects of WFA on loss of type collagen expression and inflammation in rabbit articular chondrocytes. WFA increased the production of reactive oxygen species, suggesting the induction of oxidative stress, in a dose-dependent manner. Also, we confirmed that WFA causes loss of type collagen expression and inflammation as determined by a decrease of type II collagen expression and an increase of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression via western blot analysis in a dose- and time- dependent manner. WFA also reduced the synthesis of sulfated proteoglycan via Alcian blue staining and caused the synthesis of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) via assay kit in dose- and time-dependent manners. Treatment with N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), an antioxidant, inhibited WFA-induced loss of type II collagen expression and increase in COX-2 expression, accompanied by inhibition of reactive oxygen species production. WFA increased phosphorylation of both Akt and p38. Inhibition of PI3K/Akt, p38, and JNK with LY294002 (LY), SB203580 (SB), or SP600125 (SP) in WFA-treated cells rescued the expression of type II collagen and suppressed the expression of COX-2. These results demonstrate that WFA induces loss of type collagen expression and inflammation via PI3K/Akt, p38, and JNK by generating reactive oxygen species in rabbit articular chondrocytes.

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Withaferin A, ≥95% (HPLC)
Withaferin A, analytical standard