An in vitro screening assay for inhibitors of proinflammatory mediators in herbal extracts using human synoviocyte cultures

Carmelita G. Frondoza, Afshin Sohrabi, Anna Polotsky, Phong V. Phan, David S. Hungerford, Lars Lindmark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, and prostaglandin (PG)E-2 play a critical role in the pathophysiology of arthritis. Tumor necrosis factor-α mediates induction of other cytokines, COX-2, PGs, and metalloproteinases, which leads to cartilage degradation. We developed an in vitro human synoviocyte assay system for screening inhibitors of proinflammatory mediators in herbal extracts. Synoviocytes (5 × 10 5 cells/well) obtained during primary knee replacement from osteoarthritic patients were incubated with: control media alone or ginger extract (hydroxy-methoxy-phenyl compounds [HAPC]: EV.EXT®77), 1 h before activation with 1 ng/ml TNF-α, 10 ng/ml interleukin-1β, or control media alone at 5% carbon dioxide, 37° C. Cell viability, TNF-α, COX-2, PGE-2, nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), and inhibitory subunit I kappa B-alpha (IκB-α) expression were analyzed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, electrophoretic mobility shift assay, and Western blots. Ginger extract-HAPC (100 μg/ml) significantly inhibited the activation of TNF-α and COX-2 expression in human synoviocytes as well as suppressed production of TNF-α and PGE-2. Inhibition of TNF-α and COX-2 activation was accompanied by suppression of NF-κB and IκB-α induction. Using our in vitro assay, we discovered that the ginger extract blocks activation of proinflammatory mediators and its transcriptional regulator suggesting its mode of action. These observations indicate that ginger extract-HAPC offers a complementary and alternative approach to modulate the inflammatory process involved in arthritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Cytokines
  • Ginger extract
  • Inflammation
  • Prostaglandins
  • Synoviocytes
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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