Introduction: Targeting inflammatory cascades is considered a promising way to prevent knee osteoarthritis (OA) progression. In terms of down-regulating the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), interleukin (IL)-6, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), pre-treatment with the flavonoid baicalein reportedly protects articular chondrocytes against the cytotoxicity of IL-1β. However, the benefits of post-treatment baicalein on osteoarthritic chondrocytes are not fully elucidated. Methods: In this study, primary human chondrocytes were stimulated with IL-1β prior to baicalein application to evaluate the therapeutic effect of post-treatment. Results: Post-treatment baicalein alleviated cell death and partially restored mitochondrial viability, while the senescence-associated secretory phenotype was not improved in IL-1β-stimulated chondrocytes. Post-treatment baicalein down-regulated the expressions of IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, MMP-3, MMP-9, and MMP-13 mRNA as well as the protein production in stimulated cells. Even so, the levels of these factors were relative higher than those in un-treated chondrocytes. Moreover, iNOS, IL-6, IL-8, and COL1A1 expressions were consistently high, and IL-10 protein synthesis steadily increased in IL-1β-treated chondrocytes under baicalein treated status. Moreover, Western blot analyses showed that post-treatment baicalein suppressed nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells and p50 production while downstream cyclooxygenase-2 was still highly expressed. Conclusion: Baicalein post-treatment to osteoarthritic chondrocytes had a minor benefit to the homeostasis of cartilaginous extracellular matrix.
ASJC Scopus subject areas