Physical Activity Prevents Cartilage Degradation: A Metabolomics Study Pinpoints the Involvement of Vitamin B6

Cells. 2019 Nov 1;8(11):1374. doi: 10.3390/cells8111374.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is predominantly characterized by the progressive degradation of articular cartilage, the connective tissue produced by chondrocytes, due to an imbalance between anabolic and catabolic processes. In addition, physical activity (PA) is recognized as an important tool for counteracting OA. To evaluate PA effects on the chondrocyte lineage, we analyzed the expression of SOX9, COL2A1, and COMP in circulating progenitor cells following a half marathon (HM) performance. Therefore, we studied in-depth the involvement of metabolites affecting chondrocyte lineage, and we compared the metabolomic profile associated with PA by analyzing runners' sera before and after HM performance. Interestingly, this study highlighted that metabolites involved in vitamin B6 salvage, such as pyridoxal 5'-phosphate and pyridoxamine 5'-phosphate, were highly modulated. To evaluate the effects of vitamin B6 in cartilage cells, we treated differentiated mesenchymal stem cells and the SW1353 chondrosarcoma cell line with vitamin B6 in the presence of IL1β, the inflammatory cytokine involved in OA. Our study describes, for the first time, the modulation of the vitamin B6 salvage pathway following PA and suggests a protective role of PA in OA through modulation of this pathway.

Keywords: SOX9; cartilage; metabolomics; osteoarthritis; physical activity; vit.B6.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Cartilage / metabolism*
  • Cartilage / physiology
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein / analysis
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein / blood
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism*
  • Chondrocytes / physiology
  • Collagen Type II / analysis
  • Collagen Type II / blood
  • Drosophila Proteins / analysis
  • Drosophila Proteins / blood
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor / analysis
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor / blood
  • Vitamin B 6 / metabolism


  • COL2A1 protein, human
  • COMP protein, human
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein
  • Collagen Type II
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • IL1B protein, human
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor
  • Sox100B protein, Drosophila
  • Vitamin B 6