New research shows horse's diseased cartilage cells can repair themselves

Osteoarthritis, or osteoarthritis as the disease is also known, is common in horses and involves the slow breakdown of joint cartilage due to low-grade inflammation. The inflammation reduces the energy uptake of the cartilage cells, and when the fuel is not available, the cells are damaged or die. In a collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital, researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, including Eva skiöldebrand, have investigated how cartilage cells can heal from the inflammation and form new cartilage.

The study used cartilage cells from equine joints with different stages of osteoarthritis. The cells were grown in cell cultures and inflammation was induced in them. The energy uptake of the cells was monitored throughout the experiment and was shown to decrease in inflamed cells. The energy deficiency that occurred resulted in the cells producing less of the basic materials for cartilage formation, called cartilage matrix molecules and hyaluronic acid. The researchers also saw an increase in the production of the neurotransmitter glutamate. The energy deficit could be reversed with glucose supplementation.

The study shows that energy supplementation to cells in the form of glucose can increase the formation of cartilage-specific molecules and reduce inflammation, which is essential for cartilage healing. The results are very positive and lay the groundwork for future treatment of osteoarthritis with better long-term effects for affected horses.

Please note that the condition cannot be remedied by giving the horse feed supplements in the form of glucose.

Link to the publication:

Reference: Elevated Glucose Levels Preserve Glucose Uptake, Hyaluronan Production, and Low Glutamate Release Following Interleukin-1? Stimulation of Differentiated Chondrocytes. Rotter Sopasakis V, Wickelgren R, Sukonina V, Brantsing C, Svala E, Hansson E, Enerbäck S, Lindahl A, Skiöldebrand E. Cartilage. 2019 Oct;10(4):491-503.

Text from