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J Med Food. 2019 Feb;22(2):152-161. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2018.4259. Epub 2018 Dec 31.

Quercetin, a Plant Polyphenol, Has Potential for the Prevention of Bone Destruction in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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1 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
2 Convergent Research Consortium for Immunologic Disease, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
3 Department of Eco-Biological Science, College of Science and Technology, Woosuk University, Jincheon-eup, Chungcheongbuk-do, Korea.
4 Department of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
5 Department of Biomedical Science and Technology, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea.


We investigated the immune-regulatory function of quercetin, in interleukin (IL)-17-produced osteoclastogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA fibroblasts-like synoviocytes (RA-FLS) were stimulated with IL-17, and the mRNA expression and secretion of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) were detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively. CD14+ monocytes (osteoclast precursors) were stimulated with IL-17, RANKL, with/without quercetin, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activity was evaluated to assess osteoclast differentiation. Osteoclast differentiation was investigated after coculturing IL-17-stimulated RA-FLS and Th17 cells with monocytes. CD4+ T cells were cocultured with quercetin under Th17-inducing conditions, and their differentiation to Th17 cells and Treg cells was determined by flow cytometry analysis. We found that IL-17 stimulated RA-FLS to produce RANKL and quercetin decreased the IL-17-induced RANKL protein levels. Quercetin decreased the IL-17-produced activation of mammalian target of rapamycin, extracellular signal-regulated kinase and inhibitor of kappa B-alpha. When monocytes were stimulated with IL-17, macrophage colony-stimulating factor or RANKL, mature osteoclasts were formed, and quercetin decreased this osteoclastogenesis. When monocytes were cultured with IL-17-prestimulated RA-FLS or Th17 cells, osteoclasts were produced, and quercetin decreased this osteoclast differentiation. In Th17-differentiation conditions, quercetin suppressed Th17 cell and the production of IL-17, but quercetin did not affect Treg cells. Quercetin inhibits IL-17-stimulated RANKL production in RA-FLS and IL-17-stimulated osteoclast formation. Quercetin reduces Th17 differentiation. Quercetin could be an additional therapeutic option for bone destructive processes in RA.


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