Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease associated to age or conditions that precipitate aging of articular cartilage, a post-mitotic tissue that remains functional until the failure of major homeostatic mechanisms. OA severely impacts the national health system costs and patients' quality of life because of pain and disability. It is a whole-joint disease sustained by inflammatory and oxidative signaling pathways and marked epigenetic changes responsible for catabolism of the cartilage extracellular matrix. OA usually progresses until its severity requires joint arthroplasty. To delay this progression and to improve symptoms, a wide range of naturally derived compounds have been proposed and are summarized in this review. Preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies have provided proof of principle that many of these nutraceuticals are able to exert pleiotropic and synergistic effects and effectively counteract OA pathogenesis by exerting both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities and by tuning major OA-related signaling pathways. The latter are the basis for the nutrigenomic role played by some of these compounds, given the marked changes in the transcriptome, miRNome, and methylome. Ongoing and future clinical trials will hopefully confirm the disease-modifying ability of these bioactive molecules in OA patients.
- extracellular matrix remodeling