Chrysoeriol suppresses hyperproliferation of rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes and inhibits JAK2/STAT3 signaling

Jia Ying Wu, Ying Jie Chen, Xiu Qiong Fu, Jun Kui Li, Ji Yao Chou, Cheng Le Yin, Jing Xuan Bai, Ying Wu, Xiao Qi Wang, Amy Sze Man Li, Lut Yi Wong, Zhi Ling Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) have cancer cell-like characteristics, such as abnormal proliferation and resistance to apoptosis, and play a pathogenic role in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Hyperproliferation of RA-FLS that can be triggered by the activation of interleukin-6/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (IL-6/STAT3) signaling destructs cartilage and bone in RA patients. Chrysoeriol is a flavone found in medicinal herbs such as Chrysanthemi Indici Flos (the dried capitulum of Chrysanthemum indicum L.). These herbs are commonly used in treating RA. Chrysoeriol has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects and inhibit STAT3 signaling in our previous studies. This study aimed to determine whether chrysoeriol inhibits hyperproliferation of RA-FLS, and whether inhibiting STAT3 signaling is one of the underlying mechanisms.

Methods: IL-6/soluble IL-6 receptor (IL-6/sIL-6R)-stimulated RA-FLS were used to evaluate the effects of chrysoeriol. CCK-8 assay and crystal violet staining were used to examine cell proliferation. Annexin V-FITC/PI double staining was used to detect cell apoptosis. Western blotting was employed to determine protein levels.

Results: Chrysoeriol suppressed hyperproliferation of, and evoked apoptosis in, IL-6/sIL-6R-stimulated RA-FLS. The apoptotic effect of chrysoeriol was verified by its ability to cleave caspase-3 and caspase-9. Mechanistic studies revealed that chrysoeriol inhibited activation/phosphorylation of Janus kinase 2 (JAK2, Tyr1007/1008) and STAT3 (Tyr705); decreased STAT3 nuclear level and down-regulated protein levels of Bcl-2 and Mcl-1 that are transcriptionally regulated by STAT3. Over-activation of STAT3 significantly diminished anti-proliferative effects of chrysoeriol in IL-6/sIL-6R-stimulated RA-FLS.

Conclusions: We for the first time demonstrated that chrysoeriol suppresses hyperproliferation of RA-FLS, and suppression of JAK2/STAT3 signaling contributes to the underlying mechanisms. This study provides pharmacological and chemical justifications for the traditional use of chrysoeriol-containing herbs in treating RA, and provides a pharmacological basis for developing chrysoeriol into a novel anti-RA agent.
Original languageEnglish
Article number73
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Chrysoeriol
  • JAK2
  • Proliferation
  • Rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes
  • STAT3 signaling


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