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PLoS One



Oral shea nut oil triterpene concentrate supplement ameliorates pain and histological assessment of articular cartilage deterioration in an ACLT injured rat knee osteoarthritis model.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a multifactorial joint disease and a common disabling condition in the elderly population. The associated pain and pathohistological changes in cartilage are common features of OA in both humans and animal models. Shea nut oil extract (SheaFlex75) contains a high triterpenoid concentration and has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic effects in both human and animal studies. In this study, we aim to investigate the potential of SheaFlex75 to prevent articular cartilage deterioration in a rat model of chronic OA progression. By employing anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) with medial meniscectomy (MMx)-induced OA, we found attenuation of both early and chronic onset OA pain and cartilage degeneration in ACLT+MMx rats receiving SheaFlex75 dietary supplementation. Under long-term oral administration, the rats with induced OA presented sustained protection of both pain and OA cartilage integrity compared to the OA-control rats. Moreover, rats subjected to long-term SheaFlex75 ingestion showed normal biochemical profiles (AST, BUN and total cholesterol) and presented relatively lower triglycerides (TGs) and body weights than the OA-control rats, which suggested the safety of prolonged use of this oil extract. Based on the present evidence, preventive management is advised to delay/prevent onset and progression in OA patients. Therefore, we suggest that SheaFlex75 may be an effective management strategy for symptom relief and cartilage protection in patients with both acute and chronic OA.