Drug Design, Development and Therapy (Nov 2020)

Acacetin Alleviates Inflammation and Matrix Degradation in Nucleus Pulposus Cells and Ameliorates Intervertebral Disc Degeneration in vivo

  • Wang H,
  • Jiang Z,
  • Pang Z,
  • Zhou T,
  • Gu Y

Journal volume & issue
Vol. Volume 14
pp. 4801 – 4813


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Hao Wang,1,* Zengxin Jiang,1,* Zhiying Pang,1 Tianyao Zhou,1 Yutong Gu1,2 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Zhongshan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, Fudan University, Shanghai 201508, People’s Republic of China*These authors contributed equally to this workCorrespondence: Yutong GuDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Zhongshan Hospital Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, People’s Republic of ChinaTel +86 13816256848Email [email protected]: Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal disorders. The nucleus pulposus is the major component of the intervertebral disc, and nucleus pulposus cells (NPCs) play a significant role in the normal functioning of the intervertebral disc. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, inflammation and extracellular matrix degradation in NPCs contribute to the degeneration of intervertebral discs. Acacetin is a drug that exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on many types of cells. However, whether acacetin can relieve the degeneration of NPCs remains unknown.Methods: NPCs were extracted from rat intervertebral discs. The NPCs were treated with tert-butyl peroxide (TBHP) to simulate a high-ROS environment, and acacetin was subsequently added. The contents of ROS, inflammatory mediators (COX-2, iNOS) and extracellular matrix components (aggrecan, collagen II, MMP13, MMP9, MMP3) were measured. Components of related signaling pathways (Nrf2, MAPK) were also evaluated. To determine the effect of acacetin in vivo, we simulated disc degeneration via needle puncture. Acacetin was then applied intraperitoneally, and the degenerative status was evaluated using MRI and histopathological analysis.Results: In vitro, acacetin alleviated TBHP-induced ROS generation and upregulated the expression of antioxidant proteins, including HO-1, NQO1, and SOD. In addition, acacetin relieved the TBHP-induced generation of inflammatory mediators (COX-2, iNOS) and degradation of the extracellular matrix (aggrecan, collagen II, MMP13, MMP9, and MMP3). Acacetin exerted its effect by activating the Nrf2 pathway and inhibiting p38, JNK and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. In vivo, acacetin ameliorated puncture-induced disc degeneration in a rat tail model, which was evaluated using MRI and histopathological analysis.Conclusion: Acacetin alleviated IDD in vitro and in vivo and may have the potential to be developed as an effective treatment for IDD.Keywords: acacetin, intervertebral disc degeneration, IDD, reactive oxygen species, ROS, inflammation