PloS one

Carnosol Inhibits Pro-Inflammatory and Catabolic Mediators of Cartilage Breakdown in Human Osteoarthritic Chondrocytes and Mediates Cross-Talk between Subchondral Bone Osteoblasts and Chondrocytes.

PMID 26292290


The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of carnosol, a rosemary polyphenol, on pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators of cartilage breakdown in chondrocytes and via bone-cartilage crosstalk. Osteoarthritic (OA) human chondrocytes were cultured in alginate beads for 4 days in presence or absence of carnosol (6 nM to 9 μM). The production of aggrecan, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, interleukin (IL)-6 and nitric oxide (NO) and the expression of type II collagen and ADAMTS-4 and -5 were analyzed. Human osteoblasts from sclerotic (SC) or non-sclerotic (NSC) subchondral bone were cultured for 3 days in presence or absence of carnosol before co-culture with chondrocytes. Chondrocyte gene expression was analyzed after 4 days of co-culture. In chondrocytes, type II collagen expression was significantly enhanced in the presence of 3 μM carnosol (p = 0.008). MMP-3, IL-6, NO production and ADAMTS-4 expression were down-regulated in a concentration-dependent manner by carnosol (p<0.01). TIMP-1 production was slightly increased at 3 μM (p = 0.02) and ADAMTS-5 expression was decreased from 0.2 to 9 μM carnosol (p<0.05). IL-6 and PGE2 production was reduced in the presence of carnosol in both SC and NSC osteoblasts while alkaline phosphatase activity was not changed. In co-culture experiments preincubation of NSC and SC osteoblasts wih carnosol resulted in similar effects to incubation with anti-IL-6 antibody, namely a significant increase in aggrecan and decrease in MMP-3, ADAMTS-4 and -5 gene expression by chondrocytes. Carnosol showed potent inhibition of pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators of cartilage breakdown in chondrocytes. Inhibition of matrix degradation and enhancement of formation was observed in chondrocytes cocultured with subchondral osteoblasts preincubated with carnosol indicating a cross-talk between these two cellular compartments, potentially mediated via inhibition of IL-6 in osteoblasts as similar results were obtained with anti-IL-6 antibody.