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Concept: Chondroitin sulfate


Laboratory evidence suggests that certain specialty dietary supplements have antiinflammatory properties, though evidence in humans remains limited. Data on a nationally representative sample of 9,947 adults from the 1999-2004 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used to assess the associations between specialty supplement use and inflammation, as measured by serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentration. Using survey-weighted multivariate linear regression, significant reductions in hs-CRP concentrations were associated with regular use of glucosamine (17%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 7, 26), chondroitin (22%, 95% CI: 8, 33), and fish oil (16%, 95% CI: 0.3, 29). No associations were observed between hs-CRP concentration and regular use of supplements containing methylsulfonylmethane, garlic, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, or pycnogenol. These results suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are associated with reduced inflammation in humans and provide further evidence to support an inverse association between use of fish oil supplements and inflammation. It is important to further investigate the potential antiinflammatory role of these supplements, as there is a need to identify safe and effective ways to reduce inflammation and the burden of inflammation-related diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Concepts: Anti-inflammatory, Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgo, Nutrition, Chondroitin sulfate, Inflammation, Cardiovascular disease, C-reactive protein


Fucosylated chondroitin sulfate (FucCS) is a structurally distinct glycosaminoglycan found in sea cucumber species. It has the same backbone composition of alternating 4-linked glucuronic acid and 3-linked N-acetyl galactosamine residues within disaccharide repeating units as regularly found in mammalian chondroitin sulfates. However, FucCS has also sulfated fucosyl branching units 3-O-linked to the acid residues. The sulfation patterns of these branches vary accordingly with holothurian species and account for different biological actions and responses. FucCSs may exhibit anticoagulant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, and pro-angiogenic activities, besides its beneficial effects in hemodialysis, cellular growth modulation, fibrosis and hyperglycemia. Through an historical overview, this document covers most of the science regarding the holothurian FucCS. Both structural and medical properties of this unique GAG, investigated during the last 25 years, are systematically discussed herein.

Concepts: Glucosamine, Sulfate, Sea cucumber, Glycosaminoglycan, Heparin, Chondroitin sulfate



To compare the efficacy and safety of chondroitin sulfate plus glucosamine hydrochloride (CS+GH) versus celecoxib in patients with knee osteoarthritis and severe pain.

Concepts: Acupuncture, Cartilage, Methylsulfonylmethane, Glycosaminoglycan, Pain, Glucosamine, Chondroitin sulfate, Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common degenerative condition that afflicts more than 70% of the population between 55 and 77 years of age. Although its prevalence is rising globally with aging of the population, current therapy is limited to symptomatic relief and, in severe cases, joint replacement surgery. We report that intra-articular expression of proteoglycan 4 (Prg4) in mice protects against development of OA. Long-term Prg4 expression under the type II collagen promoter (Col2a1) does not adversely affect skeletal development but protects from developing signs of age-related OA. The protective effect is also shown in a model of posttraumatic OA created by cruciate ligament transection. Moreover, intra-articular injection of helper-dependent adenoviral vector expressing Prg4 protected against the development of posttraumatic OA when administered either before or after injury. Gene expression profiling of mouse articular cartilage and in vitro cell studies show that Prg4 expression inhibits the transcriptional programs that promote cartilage catabolism and hypertrophy through the up-regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor 3α. Analyses of available human OA data sets are consistent with the predictions of this model. Hence, our data provide insight into the mechanisms for OA development and offer a potential chondroprotective approach to its treatment.

Concepts: Chondroitin sulfate, Skeletal system, Cartilage, Bone, Gene, Gene expression, Knee, Osteoarthritis


Surgical options for cartilage resurfacing may be significantly improved by advances and application of biomaterials that direct tissue repair. A poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogel was designed to support cartilage matrix production, with easy surgical application. A model in vitro system demonstrated deposition of cartilage-specific extracellular matrix in the hydrogel biomaterial and stimulation of adjacent cartilage tissue development by mesenchymal stem cells. For translation to the joint environment, a chondroitin sulfate adhesive was applied to covalently bond and adhere the hydrogel to cartilage and bone tissue in articular defects. After preclinical testing in a caprine model, a pilot clinical study was initiated where the biomaterials system was combined with standard microfracture surgery in 15 patients with focal cartilage defects on the medial femoral condyle. Control patients were treated with microfracture alone. Magnetic resonance imaging showed that treated patients achieved significantly higher levels of tissue fill compared to controls. Magnetic resonance spin-spin relaxation times (T(2)) showed decreasing water content and increased tissue organization over time. Treated patients had less pain compared with controls, whereas knee function [International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC)] scores increased to similar levels between the groups over the 6 months evaluated. No major adverse events were observed over the study period. With further clinical testing, this practical biomaterials strategy has the potential to improve the treatment of articular cartilage defects.

Concepts: Mesenchymal stem cell, Proteoglycan, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Articular cartilage repair, Chondroitin sulfate, Extracellular matrix, Bone, Cartilage


Retinal ischemia occurs in a variety of eye diseases. Restrained blood flow induces retinal damage, which leads to progressive optic nerve degeneration and vision loss. Previous studies indicate that extracellular matrix (ECM) constituents play an important role in complex tissues, such as retina and optic nerve. They have great impact on de- and regeneration processes and represent major candidates of central nervous system glial scar formation. Nevertheless, the importance of the ECM during ischemic retina and optic nerve neurodegeneration is not fully understood yet. In this study, we analyzed remodeling of the extracellular glycoproteins fibronectin, laminin, tenascin-C and tenascin-R and the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) aggrecan, brevican and phosphacan/RPTPβ/ζ in retinae and optic nerves of an ischemia/reperfusion rat model via quantitative real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry and Western blot. A variety of ECM constituents were dysregulated in the retina and optic nerve after ischemia. Regarding fibronectin, significantly elevated mRNA and protein levels were observed in the retina following ischemia, while laminin and tenascin-C showed enhanced immunoreactivity in the optic nerve after ischemia. Interestingly, CSPGs displayed significantly increased expression levels in the optic nerve. Our study demonstrates a dynamic expression of ECM molecules following retinal ischemia, which strengthens their regulatory role during neurodegeneration.

Concepts: Neurology, Visual system, Brain, Chondroitin sulfate, Optic nerve, Extracellular matrix, Retina, Nervous system


Despite the availability of several therapies for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that target the immune system, a large number of RA patients fail to achieve remission. Joint-lining cells, called fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS), become activated during RA and mediate joint inflammation and destruction of cartilage and bone. We identify RPTPσ, a transmembrane tyrosine phosphatase, as a therapeutic target for FLS-directed therapy. RPTPσ is reciprocally regulated by interactions with chondroitin sulfate or heparan sulfate containing extracellular proteoglycans in a mechanism called the proteoglycan switch. We show that the proteoglycan switch regulates FLS function. Incubation of FLS with a proteoglycan-binding RPTPσ decoy protein inhibited cell invasiveness and attachment to cartilage by disrupting a constitutive interaction between RPTPσ and the heparan sulfate proteoglycan syndecan-4. RPTPσ mediated the effect of proteoglycans on FLS signaling by regulating the phosphorylation and cytoskeletal localization of ezrin. Furthermore, administration of the RPTPσ decoy protein ameliorated in vivo human FLS invasiveness and arthritis severity in the K/BxN serum transfer model of RA. Our data demonstrate that FLS are regulated by an RPTPσ-dependent proteoglycan switch in vivo, which can be targeted for RA therapy. We envision that therapies targeting the proteoglycan switch or its intracellular pathway in FLS could be effective as a monotherapy or in combination with currently available immune-targeted agents to improve control of disease activity in RA patients.

Concepts: Cartilage, Extracellular matrix, Immune system, Proteoglycan, Rheumatoid arthritis, Cell membrane, Heparan sulfate, Chondroitin sulfate


Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) results in a defective breakdown of the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) heparan sulfate and dermatan sulfate, which leads to a progressive disease. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) results in clearance of these GAGs from a range of tissues and can significantly ameliorate several symptoms. The biochemical efficacy of ERT is generally assessed by the determination of the total urinary excretion of GAGs. However, this has limitations. We studied the concentrations of heparan sulfate and dermatan sulfate derived disaccharides (HS and DS, respectively) in the plasma and urine of seven patients and compared these levels with total urinary GAGs (uGAGs) levels.

Concepts: Heparan sulfate, Iduronic acid, Heparin, Glycosaminoglycans, Dermatan sulfate, Chondroitin sulfate, Glycosaminoglycan, Mucopolysaccharidosis


Aggrecan is a major matrix component of articular cartilage, and its degradation is a crucial event in the development of osteoarthritis (OA). Adamalysin-like metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 5 (ADAMTS-5) is a major aggrecan-degrading enzyme in cartilage, but there is no clear correlation between ADAMTS-5 mRNA levels and OA progression. Here, we report that post-translational endocytosis of ADAMTS-5 by chondrocytes regulates its extracellular activity. We found 2- to 3-fold reduced aggrecanase activity when ADAMTS-5 was incubated with live porcine cartilage, resulting from its rapid endocytic clearance. Studies using receptor-associated protein (RAP), a ligand-binding antagonist for the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins (LRPs), and siRNA-mediated gene silencing revealed that the receptor responsible for ADAMTS-5 clearance is LRP-1. Domain-deletion mutagenesis of ADAMTS-5 identified that the noncatalytic first thrombospondin and spacer domains mediate its endocytosis. The addition of RAP to porcine cartilage explants in culture increased the basal level of aggrecan degradation, as well as ADAMTS-5-induced aggrecan degradation. Notably, LRP-1-mediated endocytosis of ADAMTS-5 is impaired in chondrocytes of OA cartilage, with ∼90% reduction in protein levels of LRP-1 without changes in its mRNA levels. Thus, LRP-1 dictates physiological and pathological catabolism of aggrecan in cartilage as a key modulator of the extracellular activity of ADAMTS-5.-Yamamoto, K., Troeberg, L., Scilabra, S. D., Pelosi, M., Murphy, C. L., Strickland, D. K., Nagase, H. LRP-1-mediated endocytosis regulates extracellular activity of ADAMTS-5 in articular cartilage.

Concepts: C-reactive protein, Autologous chondrocyte implantation, RNA, Cartilage, Cholesterol, Chondroitin sulfate, Cell membrane, Protein