Osteoarthritis is a common rheumatologic problem affecting over 100 million people worldwide. Symptoms include swelling in knee, pain and stiffness in joints.
However, there is no effective cure, rendering joint replacement as the only therapeutic option in patients with severe symptoms.
With phyto-pharmaceuticals becoming a popular research topic due to their lower risk of side effects and toxicity, a group of researchers from India embarked on research to evaluate the anti-osteoarthritic effects of Spinacia oleracea extract (SOE).
A total of 55 rats were involved in the study, with 10 in the control group and the remaining 45 injected with monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) on their left knee to induce osteoarthritis that resembles that of humans.
By the end of three days, primary symptoms of osteoarthritis such as knee inflammation was observed.
Thirty diseased rats were then divided into three groups: 1) control group which received no SOE treatment 2) received SOE treatment at 250mg.kg− 1 dose per day and 3) received SOE treatment at 500mg.kg− 1 dose per day. The latter two groups had SOE treatment for 28 days.
Anti-osteoarthritic potential of SOE was evaluated by micro-CT, mRNA and protein expression of pro-inflammatory and chondrogenic genes, clinically relevant biomarkers and behavioural experiments.
Higher concentration, better results
After four weeks of treatment, rats which received SOE treatment could walk further without falling.
This is because SOE was able to inhibit glycosamine glycan (GAG) release, suggesting its ability to prevent destruction of cartilage.
SOE also increased the total bone volume to tissue volume, which is associated with improved cartilage.
On the other hand, it is seen that the higher the concentration of SOE, the greater the improvement.
For example, SOE at concentration of 500 μg.ml− 1 had inhibited GAG release by 16.38%, while concentration at 250 μg.ml− 1 only inhibited GAG release by 11.84%.
Researchers also found that “treatment of 500 μg.ml− 1 had decreased tissue volume by 48% and increased the bone volume/tissue volume by 79% that resulted in a significant decrease in trabecular porosity by more than 200% after SOE administration.”
This is a reverse to MIA induced osteoarthritis, where tissue volume was increased by 160% and subchondral bone volume/tissue volume ratio was decreased by 58%.
Hence, the researchers concluded that “SOE has the ability to alleviate the MIA induced deleterious effects.”
Source: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
"Spinacia oleracea extract attenuates disease progression and sub-chondral bone changes in monosodium iodoacetate-induced osteoarthritis in rats"
Authors: Dharmendra Choudhary, et al.