The thymoquinone-induced production of reactive oxygen species promotes dedifferentiation through the ERK pathway and inflammation through the p38 and PI3K pathways in rabbit articular chondrocytes
Affiliations: Department of Biological Sciences, Kongju National University, Gongju 314-701, Republic of Korea
- Published online on: November 27, 2014 https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2014.2014
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Dedifferentiation and inflammation are major features of cartilage degeneration during the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA). Thymoquinone (TQ) is the major compound of black seed oil isolated from Nigella sativa with various beneficial or harmful effects on several diseases; however, its effects on the dedifferentiation and inflammation of chondrocytes have not yet been characterized. In the present study, we investigated whether TQ regulates the dedifferentiation and inflammation of rabbit articular chondrocytes, focusing on the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in rabbit articular chondrocytes. TQ induced the generation of ROS in a dose-dependent manner, as shown by staining with the fluorescent probe, 2'-7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate. We confirmed that TQ induced dedifferentiation by measuring the loss of type II collagen and the reduction in chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan levels. TQ also caused inflammation by inducing the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). The antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), prevented the dedifferentiation and inflammation which was generated by the TQ-induced production of ROS. Furthermore, TQ caused a dose-dependent increase in p38, phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) expression. NAC abrogated this effect and attenuated the dedifferentiation and inflammation which was generated by the TQ-induced production of ROS. To identify the ROS-regulated pathways, we treated the chondrocytes with the p38 inhibitor, SB203580, the MEK inhibitor, PD98059, and the PI3K inhibitor, LY294002. PD98059 inhibited the TQ-induced dedifferentiation and SB203580 and LY294002 prevented the TQ-induced inflammation. These findings suggest that the TQ-induced production of ROS causes dedifferentiation through the ERK pathway and inflammation through the PI3K and p38 pathways in rabbit articular chondrocytes.