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Elevated glucose levels promote matrix repair

Last changed: 24 March 2020
Frontlegs horse

Chondrocytes are responsible for remodeling and maintaining the structural and functional integrity of the cartilage extracellular matrix. Because of the absence of a vascular supply, chondrocytes survive in a relatively hypoxic environment and thus have limited regenerative capacity during conditions of cellular stress associated with inflammation and matrix degradation, such as osteoarthritis (OA). Glucose is essential to sustain chondrocyte metabolism and is a precursor for key matrix components.

In this study, we investigated the importance of glucose as a fuel source for matrix repair during inflammation as well as the effect of glucose on inflammatory mediators associated with osteoarthritis.


To create an OA model, we used equine chondrocytes from 4 individual horses that were differentiated into cartilage pellets in vitro followed by interleukin-1β (IL-1β) stimulation for 72 hours. The cells were kept at either normoglycemic conditions (5 mM glucose) or supraphysiological glucose concentrations (25 mM glucose) during the stimulation with IL-1β.


We found that elevated glucose levels preserve glucose uptake, hyaluronan synthesis, and matrix integrity, as well as induce anti-inflammatory actions by maintaining low expression of Toll-like receptor-4 and low secretion of glutamate.


Adequate supply of glucose to chondrocytes during conditions of inflammation and matrix degradation interrupts the detrimental inflammatory cycle and induces synthesis of hyaluronan, thereby promoting cartilage repair.

Link to the publication


Elevated Glucose Levels Preserve Glucose Uptake, Hyaluronan Production, and Low Glutamate Release Following Interleukin-1β 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.


Eva Skiöldebrand, Professor
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, SLU, +46 18-67 21 72