Effect of glucosamine on interleukin-1-conditioned articular cartilage

Equine Vet J Suppl. 2002 Sep;(34):219-23. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2002.tb05422.x.


Glucosamine inhibits recombinant human interleukin-1 stimulated cartilage degradation in equine cartilage explants. Recently, recombinant equine interleukin-1 has been cloned and purified. Therefore, the objective of this study was to characterise the effects of glucosamine on indices of cartilage degradation in recombinant equine IL-1beta-stimulated equine articular cartilage explants. Cartilage discs were harvested from the weight-bearing region of the articular surface of the antebrachiocarpal and middle carpal joints of horses (age 2-8 years) and cultured under standard conditions. Explants were exposed to recombinant equine interleukin-1beta (reIL-1beta) on Days 1-4 in the presence or absence of glucosamine (0.25, 2.5 or 25 mg/ml), with appropriate controls. Nitric oxide, prostaglandin E2, sulphated proteoglycan, stromelysin and gelatinase/collagenase activity released into conditioned media and total tissue proteoglycan content were measured as indicators of cartilage catabolism. Glucosamine inhibited cartilage catabolic responses in a dose dependent manner that was statistically significant at a dose of 0.25 mg/ml for stromelysin activity and 2.5 mg/ml for collagenase/gelatinase activity. At 25 mg/ml glucosamine also prevented IL-1beta-induced increases in nitric oxide production, prostaglandin E2 and proteoglycan release to media. Glucosamine prevents equine articular cartilage degradation experimentally induced by reIL-1beta in vitro. These data provide further support for the use of glucosamine in treatment or prevention of cartilage loss in athletic horses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular / drug effects*
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glucosamine / pharmacology*
  • Glucosamine / therapeutic use
  • Horse Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Horse Diseases / metabolism
  • Horses
  • Interleukin-1 / pharmacology
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3 / drug effects
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / drug effects
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis / veterinary*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3
  • Glucosamine