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Review

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate: Is There Any Scientific Evidence for Their Effectiveness as Disease-Modifying Drugs in Knee Osteoarthritis Preclinical Studies?—A Systematic Review from 2000 to 2021

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Anatomy, Animal Production and Veterinary Clinical Sciences Department, Veterinary Faculty, Campus Universitario s/n, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 27002 Lugo, Spain
2
Ibonelab S.L., Laboratory of Biomaterials, Avda. da Coruña, 500 (CEI-NODUS), 27003 Lugo, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Rosalia Crupi and Enrico Gugliandolo
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1608; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061608
Received: 17 April 2021 / Revised: 19 May 2021 / Accepted: 27 May 2021 / Published: 29 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition for Small Animal Health)
Osteoarthritis is the most common progressive joint disease diagnosed in companion animals and its management continues to be a significant challenge. Nutraceuticals have been widely investigated over the years in the treatment of osteoarthritis and among them, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate treatments are probably the most common therapies used in veterinary management. However, heterogeneous results were obtained among animal studies and the evidence of their efficacy is still controversial. Animal models have a crucial role in studying the histological changes and evaluating the therapy efficacy of different drugs. Consequently, we consider it may be of interest to evaluate the effectiveness of the most representative nutraceuticals in experimental animal studies of osteoarthritis. In this systematic review, we found a large inconsistency among the experimental protocols, but a positive cartilage response and biochemical modulation were observed in half of the evaluated articles, mainly associated with pre-emptive administrations and with some therapies’ combinations. Even though some of these results were promising, additional data are needed to draw solid conclusions, and further studies evaluating their efficacy in the long term and focusing on other synovial components may be needed to clarify their function.
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been proposed due to their physiological and functional benefits in the management of osteoarthritis in companion animals. However, the scientific evidence for their use is still controversial. The purpose of this review was to critically elucidate the efficacy of these nutraceutical therapies in delaying the progression of osteoarthritis, evaluating their impact on the synovial knee joint tissues and biochemical markers in preclinical studies by systematically reviewing the last two decades of peer-reviewed publications on experimental osteoarthritis. Three databases (PubMed, Scopus and, Web of Science) were screened for eligible studies. Twenty-two articles were included in the review. Preclinical studies showed a great heterogeneity among the experimental designs and their outcomes. Generally, the evaluated nutraceuticals, alone or in combination, did not seem to prevent the subchondral bone changes, the synovial inflammation or the osteophyte formation. However, further experimental studies may be needed to evaluate their effect at those levels. Regarding the cartilage status and biomarkers, positive responses were identified in approximately half of the evaluated articles. Furthermore, beneficial effects were associated with the pre-emptive administrations, higher doses and, multimodality approaches with some combined therapies. However, additional studies in the long term and with good quality and systematic design are required. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal models; biochemical markers; cartilage; chondroitin sulfate; glucosamine; nutraceuticals; osteoarthritis animal models; biochemical markers; cartilage; chondroitin sulfate; glucosamine; nutraceuticals; osteoarthritis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fernández-Martín, S.; González-Cantalapiedra, A.; Muñoz, F.; García-González, M.; Permuy, M.; López-Peña, M. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate: Is There Any Scientific Evidence for Their Effectiveness as Disease-Modifying Drugs in Knee Osteoarthritis Preclinical Studies?—A Systematic Review from 2000 to 2021. Animals 2021, 11, 1608. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061608

AMA Style

Fernández-Martín S, González-Cantalapiedra A, Muñoz F, García-González M, Permuy M, López-Peña M. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate: Is There Any Scientific Evidence for Their Effectiveness as Disease-Modifying Drugs in Knee Osteoarthritis Preclinical Studies?—A Systematic Review from 2000 to 2021. Animals. 2021; 11(6):1608. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061608

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fernández-Martín, Silvia, Antonio González-Cantalapiedra, Fernando Muñoz, Mario García-González, María Permuy, and Mónica López-Peña. 2021. "Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate: Is There Any Scientific Evidence for Their Effectiveness as Disease-Modifying Drugs in Knee Osteoarthritis Preclinical Studies?—A Systematic Review from 2000 to 2021" Animals 11, no. 6: 1608. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061608

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