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Apigenin Mitigates Intervertebral Disc Degeneration through the Amelioration of Tumor Necrosis Factor α (TNF-α) Signaling Pathway

Fan Ding, Xia Li

(Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The First People’s Hospital of Jingmen, Jingmen, Hubei, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e924587

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.924587


BACKGROUND: Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is a common spinal disease affected by environmental and lifestyle factors that has a significant pathological cascade toward inflammation and partial disability. There is currently no therapy that can completely restore the cellular derangement in IDD. Hence, in this study, the therapeutic effects of apigenin on IDD were evaluated using a rat model.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Animals were separated into 4 groups: Grp 1, sham-operated control; Grp 2, IDD-induced; Grp 3, IDD-induced+apigenin treatment; Grp 4, apigenin control. The animals were assessed for inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and prostaglandin signaling.
RESULTS: There were significant increases in the inflammatory cytokines IL-1ß, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8 and IL-17 in the IDD-induced group compared to that of control. Moreover, with increased levels of MMP-3, MMP-9, ADAMTS-4, and syndecan-4, the levels of TNF-alpha, IFN-γ, prostaglandin E2, and cyclooxygenase 2 were directly increased in the IDD-induced group. In contrast, apigenin protectively restored levels of prostaglandin signaling and reduced cytokine levels. In addition, nucleus pulposus cells cultured separately with either TNF-alpha inhibitor or apigenin significantly attenuated the levels of extracellular matrix proteins.
CONCLUSIONS: The reduction of cytokine levels under apigenin treatment suggests it may be a promising target drug therapy for the treatment of deleterious IDD conditions.

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