Background: Proinflammatory cytokines, which can upregulate the expression of matrix-degrading enzymes in chondrocytes, play important roles in the development of osteoarthritis. And a BET protein inhibitor, I-BET151, has been shown to exert an anti-inflammatory effect by repressing the BET protein-mediated expression of inflammatory genes. Our objective is to investigate the effect of I-BET151 on a surgical mouse model of osteoarthritis (OA) and human chondrocytes. Methods: We first treated a surgical mouse model of OA with I-BET151 once per day and evaluated the knee joints at 6 and 8 weeks after treatment. We then pretreated the human chondrocytes with I-BET151 prior to treatment with IL-1β or TNF-α and checked the expression and activity of the matrix-degrading enzyme genes. We also checked the expression of ACAN, COL2A1, and SOX9. Results: We demonstrated that I-BET151 could prevent articular cartilage damage in the surgical mouse model of OA at an earlier time after treatment, but not at a later time after treatment. I-BET151 could robustly suppress the IL-1β- and TNF-α-induced expression and activity of several matrix-degrading enzymes in human chondrocytes. I-BET151 could also suppress the expression of ACAN, COL2A1, and SOX9. Conclusions: Our findings suggested that inhibiting BET proteins could exert a repression effect on both of chondrocyte anabolism and catabolism, and the effect of BET protein inhibitor on surgical mouse model of OA needs further evaluation.