Nutrition study concludes that Spinacia oleracea (spinach) can be used to prevent bone changes caused by osteoarthritis


A study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine has found that Spinacia oleracea (commonly known as spinach) can mitigate the effects of osteoarthritis induced by monosodium iodoacetate (MIA).

  • Researchers at CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute in India induced osteoarthritis in a group of mice by injecting MIA at their knee joint. Then, the team orally administered S. oleracea extract at 250 and 500 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) doses every day for 28 days to the MIA-induced osteoarthritis mice.
  • They assessed the anti-osteoarthritic properties of S. oleracea extract by micro-CT, mRNA, and protein expression of pro-inflammatory and chondrogenic genes, clinically relevant biomarker’s, and behavioral experiments.
  • Based on the results of in vitro cell-free and cell-based assays, the extract of S. oleracea worked as a powerful antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent. Moreover, histological assessment of the knee joints at the end of the experiment by safranin-o and toluidine blue staining established its protective effect.
  • Joint space and irregularity of the articular and atrophied femoral condyles and tibial plateau were also found to have improved. The treatment also attenuated the negative effects of osteoarthritis by increasing bone volume to tissue volume, resulting in the reduction of trabecular pattern factor by over 200 percent. In addition, S. oleracea extracts promoted chondrogenic marker gene expression by decreasing pro-inflammatory markers. Chondrocytes are the only component cells that can control important activities of the articular cartilage. Compounds of S. oleracea also caused increased Sox-9 and Col-II protein expression in articular chondrocytes.
  • Serum and urine tests suggested that S. oleracea extract reduced glutathione S-transferase activity and clinical markers of osteoarthritis such as cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) and C-telopeptide of type II collagen (CTX-II). These resulted in a substantial improvement in locomotion and balancing activity in mice.

Overall, the findings of the study suggested that S. oleracea extract can mitigate the adverse effects of MIA-induced osteoarthritis.

For the full text of the study, visit this link.

Journal Reference:

Choudhary D, Kothari P, Tripathi AK, Singh S, Adhikary S, Ahmad N, Kumar S, Dev K, Mishra VK, … Trivedi R. SPINACIA OLERACEA EXTRACT ATTENUATES DISEASE PROGRESSION AND SUB-CHONDRAL BONE CHANGES IN MONOSODIUM IODOACETATE-INDUCED OSTEOARTHRITIS IN RATS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018; 18(69). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-018-2117-9



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