Objective: To study the efficacy and possible mechanism of Yiqi Huayu Recipe (YQHYR), a compound traditional Chinese herbal medicine, in preventing and treating degeneration of the articular cartilage in rats with osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: A total of 90 one-month-old SD rats were randomly divided into normal control group, untreated group and YQHYR group, with 30 rats in each group. The osteoarthritis was induced by shoulder disarticulation plus upright posture in rats. The rats in YQHYR group were treated with YQHYR at 5-, 7- and 9-month old (4, 6 and 8 months after the surgery) for one month. Ten rats in each subgroup were sacrificed at 6-, 8- and 10-month old (5, 7 and 9 months after the surgery) respectively and the knee joint samples were harvested for detection. Safranin-O/fast green staining was performed to examine the morphology of articular cartilage. The expressions of type II collagen (Col2Al), aggrecan-1 (Agcl), matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP-13) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) mRNAs were evaluated by real-time fluorescent quantitation polymerase chain reaction. Results: Histological analysis showed that the structure of articular cartilage was seriously destroyed in rats in the untreated group. On the contrary, the degenerative changes of the articular cartilage in the YQHYR group were dropped off. Real-time fluorescent quantitation polymerase chain reaction showed that expressions of Agcl, TIMP-1 and Col2A1 mRNAs were up-regulated in 6- and 10-month-old rats in the YQHYR group as compared with those in the untreated group (P<0.01, P<0.05), but there was no significant difference in expression of MMP-13 mRNA between the YQHYR group and the untreated group. The expression of Agcl mRNA was up-regulated and the expression of MMP-13 mRNA was down-regulated in the 8-month-old rats in YQHYR group as compared with those in the untreated group (P<0.01). Conclusion: YQHYR can promote the synthesizing of aggrecan and type II collagen in chondrocytes and delay articular cartilage degradation in OA rats.
- Articular cartilage
- Osteoarthritis, knee
- Yiqi Huayu Recipe
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine