Groundbreaking study unveils potential of quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucuronide as a leading candidate for osteoarthritis therapy

In a groundbreaking development for osteoarthritis (OA) treatment, a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Translation reveals the remarkable effects of quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucuronide (Q3GA). The research demonstrates that Q3GA effectively hinders the degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) and reduces inflammation in chondrocytes triggered by IL-1β, operating through the Nrf2/NF-κB axis. Moreover, Q3GA treatment showcased significant efficacy in mitigating OA advancement in the MNX rat model. 

Mao et al. evaluated the effects of Q3GA on inflammation and extracellular matrix related genes and proteins in chondrocytes. They also investigated the effect of glucuronide on the Nrf2 pathway and treated a rat model of OA with Q3GA injected into the joint cavity. A study found that Q3GA can help reduce the degradation of ECM and the expression of inflammatory-related proteins and genes in primary chondrocytes of rats that have been induced by IL-1β. It can also decrease the expression of nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Q3GA inhibits the activation of the NF-κB pathway by increasing the expression of Nrf2 in the nucleus. Furthermore, the study shows that Q3GA can inhibit cartilage degradation in OA rats and promote cartilage repair. 

Q3GA is a compound that belongs to the flavonoid group, specifically a glycoside derivative of quercetin. It is formed when quercetin, a naturally occurring flavonol found in various fruits, vegetables, leaves, and grains, undergoes glucuronidation. It also exists in many Chinese herbal medicines. Studies investigating the biological activities of Q3GA have shown its potential to modulate various cellular processes and pathways, making it a subject of interest in pharmacological and medical research. Recent studies have shown that Q3GA exhibits antioxidant, anti-arteriosclerotic, and antiviral activities in both in vivo and in vitro models. It enhances the anti-inflammatory properties of M2a macrophages, inhibits aging in primary human cells, and inhibits collagenase production. 

This breakthrough development in OA treatment opens up new avenues for the use of Q3GA in treating and managing osteoarthritis. Further research into Q3GA is warranted to fully understand its potential benefits and applications in treating various health conditions. 


Mao H, Feng Y, Feng J, Yusufu Y, Sun M, Yang L, et al. Quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucuronide attenuates osteoarthritis by inhibiting cartilage extracellular matrix degradation and inflammation. J Orthop Translat. 2024 Apr 5;45:236–46.