The impact of polyphenols on chondrocyte growth and survival: a preliminary report

  • Salvador Fernández-Arroyo
  • Fernando Huete-Toral
  • María Jesús Pérez de Lara
  • María de la Luz Cádiz-Gurrea
  • Laurence Legeai-Mallet
  • Vicente Micol
  • Antonio Segura-Carretero
  • Jorge Joven
  • Jesús Pintor
Keywords: Chondrodysplasia, fibroblast growth factor, Hibiscus sabdariffa, nutrition, osteoarthritis, polyphenols, signalling pathways


Background: Imbalances in the functional binding of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) to their receptors (FGFRs) have consequences for cell proliferation and differentiation that in chondrocytes may lead to degraded cartilage. The toxic, proinflammatory, and oxidative response of cytokines and FGFs can be mitigated by dietary polyphenols.

Objective: We explored the possible effects of polyphenols in the management of osteoarticular diseases using a model based on the transduction of a mutated human FGFR3 (G380R) in murine chondrocytes. This mutation is present in most cases of skeletal dysplasia and is responsible for the overexpression of FGFR3 that, in the presence of its ligand, FGF9, results in toxic effects leading to altered cellular growth.

Design: Different combinations of dietary polyphenols derived from plant extracts were assayed in FGFR3 (G380R) mutated murine chondrocytes, exploring cell survival, chloride efflux, extracellular matrix (ECM) generation, and grade of activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases.

Results: Bioactive compounds from Hibiscus sabdariffa reversed the toxic effects of FGF9 and restored normal growth, suggesting a probable translation to clinical requests in humans. Indeed, these compounds activated the intracellular chloride efflux, increased ECM generation, and stimulated cell proliferation. The inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation was interpreted as the main mechanism governing these beneficial effects.

Conclusions: These findings support the rationale behind the encouragement of the development of drugs that repress the overexpression of FGFRs and suggest the dietary incorporation of supplementary nutrients in the management of degraded cartilage.

Keywords: chondrodysplasia; fibroblast growth factor; Hibiscus sabdariffa; nutrition; osteoarthritis; polyphenols; signaling pathways

(Published: 5 Octiber 2015)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2015, 59: 29311 -


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How to Cite
Fernández-Arroyo S., Huete-Toral F., Pérez de Lara M. J., Cádiz-Gurrea M. de la L., Legeai-Mallet L., Micol V., Segura-Carretero A., Joven J., & Pintor J. (2015). The impact of polyphenols on chondrocyte growth and survival: a preliminary report. Food & Nutrition Research, 59.
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