Anti-arthritis effects of (E)-2,4-bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butenal are mediated by inhibition of the STAT3 pathway

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Products of Maillard reactions between aminoacids and reducing sugars are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Here we have assessed the anti-arthritis effects of (E)-2,4-bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butenal and its possible mechanisms of action.


We used cultures of LPS-activated macrophages (RAW264.7 cells) and human synoviocytes from patients with rheumatoid arthritis for in vitro assays and the collagen-induced arthritis model in mice. NO generation, iNOS and COX2 expression, and NF-κB/IKK and STAT3 activities were measured in vitro and in joint tissues of arthritic mice, along with clinical scores and histopathological assessments. Binding of (E)-2,4-bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butenal to STAT3 was evaluated by a pull-down assay and its binding site was predicted using molecular docking studies with Autodock VINA.


(E)-2,4-bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butenal (2.5–10 μg·mL−1) inhibited LPS-inducedNO generation, iNOS and COX2 expression, and NF-κB/IKK and STAT3 activities in macrophage and human synoviocytes. This compound also suppressedcollagen-induced arthritic responses in mice by inhibiting expression of iNOS and COX2, and NF-κB/IKK and STAT3 activities; it also reduced bone destruction and fibrosis in joint tissues. A pull-down assay showed that (E)-2,4-bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butenal interfered with binding of ATP to STAT3. Docking studies suggested that (E)-2,4-bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butenal bound to the DNA-binding interface of STAT3 possibly inhibiting ATP binding to STAT3 in an allosteric manner.


(E)-2,4-bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butenal exerted anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects through inhibition of the NF-κB/STAT3 pathway by direct binding to STAT3. This compound could be a useful agent for the treatment of arthritic disease.

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