Glucose derivatives effects on cartilage degradation

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in the world and is currently considered a public health problem. It is characterized by cartilage deterioration over time and can result in extensive articular damage (Phitak et al., 1). Osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability, particularly in the elderly. It affects approximately 60% of men and 70% of women above the age of 65 (Phitak et al., 8). There are currently a number of active research programs aimed at identifying structure-modifying ways that inhibit joint destruction in adults with OA, as well as for therapies aimed to reduce symptoms. Until recently, a medication known as a COX-2 inhibitor was widely used for the treatment of OA, but some products began to be recalled due to the increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

One recent alternative therapy is nutraceutical treatment. Glucosamine (GlcN) has become a well-known alternative treatment for osteoarthritis. It is an aminosaccharide that acts as a substrate for the biosynthesis of glycosaminoglycan chains that arthritis can destroy (Phitak et al., 1). These chains are comprised of polysaccharides and are derived from amino hexose (MedLine). Evidence suggests that GlcN is effective in decreasing pain in patients with OA in their knees, as compared to low doses of common pain medications. It has also been effective in slowing the progression of OA in adult patients. However, it is currently used in derivative forms, while its molecular mode of action remains unclear.

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