Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Glucosamine affects intracellular signalling through inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation in human chondrocytes

Anna Scotto d'Abusco1*, Valentina Calamia1, Claudia Cicione1, Brunella Grigolo2, Laura Politi1 and Roberto Scandurra1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemical Sciences, Sapienza University of Roma, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy

2 Laboratory of Immunology and Genetics, Istituto di Ricerca Codivilla Putti, Istituti Ortopedici Rizzoli, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136, Bologna Italy

For all author emails, please log on.

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2007, 9:R104  doi:10.1186/ar2307

Published: 9 October 2007


The aim of this study was to determine the effects of glucosamine on matrix metalloprotease (MMP) production, on mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation, and on activator protein (AP)-1 transcription factor activation in human chondrocytes. The human immortalized cell line lbpva55 and healthy human chondrocytes (obtained from healthy donors) were subjected to challenge with 10 ng/ml IL-1β after pretreatment with 2.5 or 10 mmol/l glucosamine. MMP mRNA expression levels were evaluated using quantitative real-time PCR, and MMP protein production levels were evaluated in the culture supernatant using ELISA. MAPK phosphorylation was evaluated using Western blotting. AP-1 transcription factor activation was evaluated by measuring AP-1 DNA-binding activity. After IL-1β stimulation, levels of MMP-1, MMP-3 and MMP-13 production were markedly increased. Treatment with 2.5 and 10 mmol/l glucosamine reduced expression of these metalloproteases. MMP expression is regulated by transcription factors such as the AP-1 complex, which is activated by phosphorylated MAPKs. IL-1β stimulated phosphorylation of c-jun amino-terminal kinase, p38 MAPK and extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2. Glucosamine inhibited c-jun amino-terminal kinase and p38 phosphorylation, and consequently c-jun binding activity. These findings demonstrate, for the first time, that glucosamine inhibits IL-1β-stimulated MMP production in human chondrocytes by affecting MAPK phosphorylation.