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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2009, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (2): 163-167.doi: 10.3736/jcim20090213

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Preventive and therapeutic effects of Yiqi Huayu Recipe on degeneration of articular cartilage in rats with osteoarthritis

 Wei Houa,Qian-qian Lianga, Jian-xin Heb, Qin Biana, Qi Shia, Yong-jun Wanga   

  1. a Institute of Spine, Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200032, China
    b Department of Orthopaedics, Wujin Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Changzhou, Jiangsu Province 213161, China
  • Received:2008-07-13 Accepted:2008-09-12 Online:2009-02-20 Published:2009-02-15


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).

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 (Col2A1), aggrecan-1 (Agc1), matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP-13) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) mRNAs were evaluated by real-time fluorescent quantitation polymerase chain reaction.

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 Agc1, 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 Agc1 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).

YQHYR can promote the synthesizing of aggrecan and type Ⅱ collagen in chondrocytes and delay articular cartilage degradation in OA rats.

Key words: Yiqi Huayu Recipe, Osteoarthritis, knee, Articular cartilage, Rats

Table 1

Sequence of primers for real time fluorescent quantitation PCR"

Gene Primer Product size (bp)
Col2A1 Forward: 5'-TCC TAA GGG TGC CAA TGG TGA-3'
Agc1 Forward: 5'-TCC GCT GGT CTG ATG GAC AC-3'
MMP13 Forward: 5'-CCC TGG AGC CCT GAT GTT T-3'
β-actin Forward: 5'-GGA GAT TAC TGC CCT GGC TCC TA-3'

Figure 1

Histological changes of knee joints in 6-, 8- and 10-month-old rats in different groups observed by light microscope (SF staining, ×100)"

Table 2

Expressions of Col2A1, Agc1, MMP-13 and TIMP-1 mRNAs in articular cartilage of knee joints in 6-, 8- and 10-month-old rats(x±s)"

Group n Col2A1 mRNA Agc1 mRNA TIMP-1 mRNA MMP-13 mRNA
6 months
Normal control 6 1.000±0.082 1.000±0.118 1.000±0.026 1.000±0.143
Untreated 6 0.682±0.051** 0.567±0.069* 0.353±0.014** 1.025±0.114
YQHYR 6 0.935±0.063△△ 1.736±0.175*△△ 0.420±0.016** 0.799±0.129
8 months
Normal control 6 0.725±0.051 1.373±0.178 0.673±0.026 3.205±0.432
Untreated 6 0.414±0.072** 0.584±0.025** 0.251±0.023** 6.065±0.511*
YQHYR 6 0.171±0.012 0.862±0.096*△△ 0.266±0.050** 2.140±0.216△△
10 months
Normal control 6 0.266±0.010 1.750±0.213 0.666±0.017 3.945±0.094
Untreated 6 0.139±0.024** 0.474±0.041** 0.154±0.012** 6.026±0.606**
YQHYR 6 0.243±0.024△△ 0.922±0.105**△△ 0.614±0.037△△ 4.983±0.458
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