Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Jellyfish mucin may have potential disease-modifying effects on osteoarthritis

Naoshi Ohta1, Masato Sato1*, Kiminori Ushida2, Mami Kokubo1, Takayuki Baba3, Kayoko Taniguchi2, Makoto Urai2, Koji Kihira3 and Joji Mochida1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Surgical Science, Tokai University School of Medicine, 143 Shimokasuya, Isehara, Kanagawa 259-1193, Japan

2 Eco-Soft Materials Research Unit, Advanced Research Institute, Riken, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan

3 Jellyfish Research Laboratories, Inc, KSP E513 Sakado 3-2-1, Takatsu-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 213-0012, Japan

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BMC Biotechnology 2009, 9:98  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-9-98

Published: 8 December 2009



We aimed to study the effects of intra-articular injection of jellyfish mucin (qniumucin) on articular cartilage degeneration in a model of osteoarthritis (OA) created in rabbit knees by resection of the anterior cruciate ligament. Qniumucin was extracted from Aurelia aurita (moon jellyfish) and Stomolophus nomurai (Nomura's jellyfish) and purified by ion exchange chromatography. The OA model used 36 knees in 18 Japanese white rabbits. Purified qniumucin extracts from S. nomurai or A. aurita were used at 1 mg/ml. Rabbits were divided into four groups: a control (C) group injected with saline; a hyaluronic acid (HA)-only group (H group); two qniumucin-only groups (M groups); and two qniumucin + HA groups (MH groups). One milligram of each solution was injected intra-articularly once a week for 5 consecutive weeks, starting from 4 weeks after surgery. Ten weeks after surgery, the articular cartilage was evaluated macroscopically and histologically.


In the C and M groups, macroscopic cartilage defects extended to the subchondral bone medially and laterally. When the H and both MH groups were compared, only minor cartilage degeneration was observed in groups treated with qniumucin in contrast to the group without qniumucin. Histologically, densely safranin-O-stained cartilage layers were observed in the H and two MH groups, but cartilage was strongly maintained in both MH groups.


At the concentrations of qniumucin used in this study, injection together with HA inhibited articular cartilage degeneration in this model of OA.