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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 821947, 9 pages
Research Article

Fuyuan Decoction Enhances SOX9 and COL2A1 Expression and Smad2/3 Phosphorylation in IL-1β-Activated Chondrocytes

1Department of Combination of Chinese and Western Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400016, China
2College of Laboratory Medicine, Chongqing Medical University, Yuzhong District, Chongqing 400016, China
3Longgang District People’s Hospital of Shenzhen, Longgang District, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518172, China

Received 29 July 2015; Revised 16 November 2015; Accepted 17 November 2015

Academic Editor: Youn C. Kim

Copyright © 2015 Yudi Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fuyuan Decoction (FYD), a herbal formula in China, has been widely used for osteoarthritis (OA) treatment. Herein, we determined the effects of FYD on the expression of transcription factor SOX9 and its target gene collagen type II, alpha 1 (COL2A1) as well as the activation of Smad2/3 in interleukin- (IL-) 1β-stimulated SW1353 chondrosarcoma cells. Serum-derived FYD (FYD-CS) was prepared to treat SW1353 cells with or without SB431542, a TGF-β1 receptor inhibitor. Cell cycle progression was tested by flow cytometry. The expression of SOX9 and COL2A1 and the activation of Smad2/3 (p-Smad2/3) were analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and/or western blot. The results showed that, after treatment, FYD-CS, while inducing S-phase cell cycle arrest, enhanced cell proliferation and protected the cells against IL-1β- and/or SB431542-induced cell growth inhibition. Furthermore, FYD-CS reversed the decreased expression of COL2A1 and SOX9 induced by IL-1β and SB431542 and blocked the decreased phosphorylation of Smad2/3 induced by IL-1β alone or in combination with SB431542. Our results suggest that FYD promotes COL2A1 and SOX9 expression as well as Smad2/3 activation in IL-1β-induced chondrocytes, thus benefiting cell survival.