The present study was designed to investigate the anti-inflammatory activity and mechanism of a lipid extract from hard-shelled mussel
) on adjuvant-induced (AIA) and collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in rats. AIA and CIA rats that received hard-shelled mussel lipid extract (HMLE group) at a dose of 100 mg/kg demonstrated significantly lower paw swelling and arthritic index, but higher body weight gain than those which received olive oil (control group). Similar results were found in arthritic rats that received New Zealand green-lipped mussel lipid extract (GMLE) at the same dosage. The levels of leukotriene B4
), prostaglandin E2
), thromboxane B2
) in the serum, and interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, interferon-γ (INF-γ), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in the ankle joint synovial fluids of HMLE group rats were significantly lower than those of control group. However, the levels of IL-4 and IL-10 in HMLE group rats were significantly higher than those in the control group. Decreased mRNA expressions of matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1) and MMP13, but increased tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP1) were observed in the knee joint synovium tissues of HMLE group rats when compared with the control group. No hepatotoxicity was observed in both HMLE and GMLE group rats. The present results indicated that HMLE had a similarly strong anti-inflammatory activity as GMLE. Such a strong efficacy could result from the suppression of inflammatory mediators (LTB4
), pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, INF-γ, TNF-α) and MMPs (MMP1, MMP13), and the promotion of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4, IL-10) and TIMPs (TIMP1) productions.