DOI: 10.1002/med.21990 ISSN:

Rheumatoid arthritis molecular targets and their importance to flavonoid‐based therapy

Ana T. Rufino, Marisa Freitas, Carina Proença, José M. P. Ferreira de Oliveira, Eduarda Fernandes, Daniela Ribeiro
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Molecular Medicine


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive, chronic, autoimmune, inflammatory, and systemic condition that primarily affects the synovial joints and adjacent tissues, including bone, muscle, and tendons. The World Health Organization recognizes RA as one of the most prevalent chronic inflammatory diseases. In the last decade, there was an expansion on the available RA therapeutic options which aimed to improve patient's quality of life. Despite the extensive research and the emergence of new therapeutic approaches and drugs, there are still significant unwanted side effects associated to these drugs and still a vast number of patients that do not respond positively to the existing therapeutic strategies. Over the years, several references to the use of flavonoids in the quest for new treatments for RA have emerged. This review aimed to summarize the existing literature about the flavonoids' effects on the major pathogenic/molecular targets of RA and their potential use as lead compounds for the development of new effective molecules for RA treatment. It is demonstrated that flavonoids can modulate various players in synovial inflammation, regulate immune cell function, decrease synoviocytes proliferation and balance the apoptotic process, decrease angiogenesis, and stop/prevent bone and cartilage degradation, which are all dominant features of RA. Although further investigation is necessary to determine the effectiveness of flavonoids in humans, the available data from in vitro and in vivo models suggest their potential as new disease‐modifying anti‐rheumatic drugs. This review highlights the use of flavonoids as a promising avenue for future research in the treatment of RA.

More from our Archive