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Polyphenolic anthocyanins are major colorful compounds in red fruits, known to prevent cardiovascular and other diseases. Grape polyphenols are a mixture of various molecules and their exact contribution to above bioactivities remains to be clarified. In the present study, we first analyzed the effect of purified grape-derived compounds on human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) survival, proliferation, as well as for their ability to inhibit the activation of human normal macrophages. Data indicated that malvidin-3-O-β glucoside (Malβg), the major grape anthocyanin, is bioactive with no toxicity on human PBMC. Malβg decreased the transcription of genes encoding inflammatory mediators, confirmed by the inhibition of TNFα, IL1, IL-6 and iNOS-derived nitric oxide (NO) secretion from activated macrophages. As Malβg also inhibited inflammatory response of rat macrophages, we investigated the anti-inflammatory potential of Malβg in chronic rat adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA). Malβg significantly diminished inflammatory cachexia and arthritic paw scores in AIA rats at both therapeutic and preventive levels. In vivo effects of Malβg correlated with down-regulation of NO generation from AIA rats’ peritoneal macrophages ex vivo. These data indicate that Malβg, major grape anthocyanin, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent in vitro and in vivo, without detectable toxic effect.