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Biomed Mater Eng. 2015;25(1 Suppl):179-86. doi: 10.3233/BME-141250.

Angelica sinensis and osteoarthritis: a natural therapeutic link?

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Faculté de Médecine, UMR 7365 CNRS-Université de Lorraine, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Zhongnan Hospital, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.
Department of Pharmacology, Basic Medical School, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.


The dried root of Angelica sinensis is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine for its beneficial effects against several diseases, including osteoarthritis. In order to understand the mechanism of action, two main components of the plant, the phytochemical, sodium ferulate, and a polysaccharidic fraction have been tested on osteoarthritis animal models or in human chondrocytes stimulated by the pro-inflammatory cytokine, Interleukine-1β. The results showed that sodium ferulate exhibited marked anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic properties by inhibiting the TNF/TNFR signal transduction pathway. On the other hand, the polysaccharidic fraction which contains a mixture of various carbohydrates was found to promote proteoglycan biosynthesis in cartilage matrix by stimulating the activity of the UDP-glycosyltransferases that synthesize the chondroitin sulfate chains of aggrecans. It is suggested that the combined action of sodium ferulate and polysaccharidic fraction would prevent cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis and favor cartilage repair.


Angelina sinensis; Chinese herbal medicine; Osteoarthritis; apoptosis; ferulic acid; glycosyltransferases; inflammation; proteoglycans

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