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International Journal of Rheumatology
Volume 2011, Article ID 969012, 17 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/969012
Review Article

Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate on Cartilage Metabolism in OA: Outlook on Other Nutrient Partners Especially Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Department of Orthopedics, Trauma Surgery and Sports Medicine, Johanna-Etienne Hospital, 41462 Neuss, Germany

Received 7 April 2011; Revised 19 May 2011; Accepted 7 June 2011

Academic Editor: Sergio Jimenez

Copyright © 2011 Jörg Jerosch. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that is characterized by increasing loss of cartilage, remodeling of the periarticular bone, and inflammation of the synovial membrane. Besides the common OA therapy with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the treatment with chondroprotectives, such as glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, collagen hydrolysate, or nutrients, such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids is a promising therapeutic approach. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that the targeted administration of selected micronutrients leads to a more effective reduction of OA symptoms, with less adverse events. Their chondroprotective action can be explained by a dual mechanism: (1) as basic components of cartilage and synovial fluid, they stimulate the anabolic process of the cartilage metabolism; (2) their anti-inflammatory action can delay many inflammation-induced catabolic processes in the cartilage. These two mechanisms are able to slow the progression of cartilage destruction and may help to regenerate the joint structure, leading to reduced pain and increased mobility of the affected joint.