Effects of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulphate, alone and in combination, on normal and interleukin-1 conditioned equine articular cartilage explant metabolism

Equine Vet J. 2005 May;37(3):227-31. doi: 10.2746/0425164054530687.


Reasons for performing study: Clinical trials in human and veterinary literature have documented the benefits of oral nutraceutical joint supplements containing glucosamine (GU) and chondroitin sulphate (CS) to treat mild to moderate osteoarthritis, but the effects of these components have not yet been conclusively determined.

Objectives: To assess varying dosages of GU and CS on normal and interleukin-1alpha (IL-1) conditioned equine cartilage explants and rationalise the use of these products.

Hypothesis: Treatment would not be detrimental to cartilage metabolism and higher dosages and the combination of GU and CS would be more beneficial than lower dosages and. GU or CS alone.

Methods: Articular cartilage explants collected from the femoral trochlea and condyles were cultured in normal and IL-1 conditioned media. Treatment groups included 0, 12.5, 25,125 and 250 microg/ml concentrations of GU alone, CS alone, or GU+CS in combination. Glycosaminoglycan (GAG) synthesis and total GAG content in the explants and media were analysed.

Results: There were no detrimental effects of GU, CS or GU+CS on cartilage metabolism. High dosages of GU+CS reduced total GAG release into the media (degradation).

Conclusions: Our results suggests that GU+CS may prevent cartilage GAG degradation.

Potential relevance: The combination of GU and CS may be more effective in preventing or treating osteoarthritis in horses than either product alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular / drug effects*
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / pharmacology*
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / therapeutic use
  • Culture Media
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Glucosamine / pharmacology*
  • Glucosamine / therapeutic use
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Horse Diseases / drug therapy
  • Horse Diseases / immunology
  • Horses
  • Interleukin-1 / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-1 / physiology
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis / immunology
  • Osteoarthritis / veterinary
  • Random Allocation
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Tissue Culture Techniques / veterinary
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Culture Media
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Interleukin-1
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • glucosaminoglycans
  • Chondroitin Sulfates
  • Glucosamine