Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is degenerative joint disorder mainly characterized by long-term pain with limited activity of joints, the disease has no effective preventative therapy. Rutin (RUT) is a flavonoid compound, present naturally. The flavonoid shows range of biological activities such as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effect. We screened RUT for its activity against osteoarthritis with in vivo and in vitro models of osteoarthritis.

Methods: Animal model of OA was developed using C57BL/6 mice by surgical destabilization of medial meniscus. For in vitro studies the human articular cartilage tissues were used which were collected from osteoarthritis patients and were processed to isolate chondrocytes. The chondrocytes were submitted to advanced glycation end products (AGEs) for inducing osteoarthritis in vitro. Cell viability was done by CCK-8 assay, ELISA analysis for MMP13, collage II, PGE2, IL-6, TNF-α, ADAMTS-5 and MMP-13. Western blot analysis was done for expression of proteins and in silico analysis was done by docking studies.

Results: Pretreatment of RT showed no cytotoxic effect and also ameliorated the AGE mediated inflammatory reaction on human chondrocytes in vitro. Treatment of RT inhibited the levels of COX-2 and iNOS in AGE exposed chondrocytes. RT decreased the AGE mediated up-regulation of IL-6, NO, TNF-α and PGE-2 in a dose dependent manner. Pretreatment of RT decreased the extracellular matrix degradation, inhibited expression of TRAF-6 and BCL-2 the NF-κB/MAPK pathway proteins. The treatment of RT in mice prevented the calcification of cartilage tissues, loss of proteoglycans and also halted the narrowing of joint space is mice subjected to osteoarthritis. The in-silico analysis suggested potential binding affinity of RT with TRAF-6 and BCL-2.

Conclusion: In brief RT inhibited AGE-induced inflammatory reaction and also degradation of ECM via targeting the NF-κB/MAPK pathway proteins BCL-2 and TRAF-6. RT can be a potential molecule in treating OA.