Lycium barbarum polysaccharides in ageing and its potential use for prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis: a systematic review

Junguo Ni, Manting Au, Hang Kin Kong, Xinluan Wang, Chunyi Wen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP), the most abundant functional component of wolfberry, is considered a potent antioxidant and an anti-ageing substance. This review aims to outline the hallmarks of ageing in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA), followed by the current understanding of the senolytic effect of LBP and its potential use in the prevention and treatment of OA. This will be discussed through the lens of molecular biology and herbal medicine. Methods: A literature search was performed from inception to March 2020 using following keywords: “Lycium barbarum polysaccharide”, “DNA damage”, antioxidant, anti-apoptosis, anti-inflammation, anti-ageing, osteoarthritis, chondrocytes, fibroblasts, osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and “bone mesenchymal stem cell”. The initial search yielded 2287 papers, from which 35 studies were selected for final analysis after screening for topic relevancy by the authors. Results: In literature different in vitro and in vivo ageing models are used to demonstrate LBP’s ability to reduce oxidative stress, restore mitochondrial function, mitigate DNA damage, and prevent cellular senescence. All the evidence hints that LBP theoretically attenuates senescent cell accumulation and suppresses the senescence-associated secretory phenotype as observed by the reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokines, like interleukin-1beta, and matrix-degrading enzymes, such as MMP-1 and MMP-13. However, there remains a lack of evidence on the disease-modifying effect of LBP in OA, although its chondroprotective, osteoprotective and anti-inflammatory effects were reported. Conclusion: Our findings strongly support further investigations into the senolytic effect of LBP in the context of age-related OA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212
JournalBMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021


  • Cellular senescence
  • Lycium Barbarum polysaccharides
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Reactive oxidative species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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