Differential response of chondrocytes and chondrogenic-induced mesenchymal stem cells to C1-OH tributanoylated N-acetylhexosamines

PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58899. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058899. Epub 2013 Mar 14.


Articular cartilage has a limited ability to self-repair because of its avascular nature and the low mitotic activity of the residing chondrocytes. There remains a significant need to develop therapeutic strategies to increase the regenerative capacity of cells that could repair cartilage. Multiple cell types, including chondrocytes and mesenchymal stem cells, have roles in articular cartilage regeneration. In this study, we evaluated a platform technology of multiple functionalized hexosamines, namely 3,4,6-O-tributanoylated-N-acetylgalactosamine (3,4,6-O-Bu3GalNAc), 3,4,6-O-tributanoylated-N-acetylmannosamine (3,4,6-O-Bu3ManNAc) and 3,4,6-O-Bu3GlcNAc, with the potential ability to reduce NFκB activity. Exposure of IL-1β-stimulated chondrocytes to the hexosamine analogs resulted in increased expression of ECM molecules and a corresponding improvement in cartilage-specific ECM accumulation. The greatest ECM accumulation was observed with 3,4,6-O-Bu3GalNAc. In contrast, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) exposed to 3,4,6-O-Bu3GalNAc exhibited a dose dependent decrease in chondrogenic differentation as indicated by decreased ECM accumulation. These studies established the disease modification potential of a hexosamine analog platform on IL-1β-stimulated chondrocytes. We determined that the modified hexosamine with the greatest potential for disease modification is 3,4,6-O-Bu3GalNAc. This effect was distinctly different with 3,4,6-O-Bu3GalNAc exposure to chondrogenic-induced MSCs, where a decrease in ECM accumulation and differentiation was observed. Furthermore, these studies suggest that NFκB pathway plays a complex role cartilage repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylgalactosamine / chemistry
  • Acetylgalactosamine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Butyrates / chemistry
  • Cattle
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chondrocytes / cytology*
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects*
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Hexosamines / chemistry*
  • Hexosamines / pharmacology*
  • Hydroxides / chemistry*
  • Interleukin-1beta / pharmacology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects


  • Butyrates
  • Hexosamines
  • Hydroxides
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • hydroxide ion
  • Acetylgalactosamine