One estimate of the impact of joint disease in horses noted that 60% of lameness is associated with osteoarthritis (OA). Specific pro-inflammatory mediators contribute as mediators of pain and cartilage degradation, including: prostaglandins such as PGE; interleukins (IL-1β, and IL-6)m; and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- α, which upregulates MCP-1 (monocyte chemo-attractant protein) gene expression. MCP-1 increases secretion of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) that mediate chronic pain.
A search for a safe supplement that ameliorates pain—but without the adverse side effects incurred with NSAIDs—stimulated a research study that evaluated the use of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), glucosamine (GLU) and chondroitin sulfate (CS) in combination.
The study compared effects on chondrocytes incubated in a) control media; b) ASU-GLU-CS combination; or c) phenylbutazone (PBZ. [Secor, E.J.; Grzanna, M.W.; Rashmir-Raven, A.M.; and Frondoza, C.G. Chondrocyte Production of Pro-Inflammatory Chemokine MCP-1 (CCL-2) and Prostaglandin E-2 Is Inhibited by Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables, Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate Combination. Pharmacology & Pharmacy 2018, 9, 10-26. https://doi.org/10.4236/pp.2018.91002].
The chondrocytes were stimulated with IL-1β or LPS (lipopolysaccharide, which stimulates production of MCP-1) and then quantified for levels of MCP-1 and PGE. The results:
- ASU-GLU-CS combination inhibited production of MCP-1 and PGE
- PBZ suppressed PGE, but not MCP-1.
PGE has a role in bone and tissue healing and repair, but it also is important in the pathogenesis of OA. MCP-1 and its receptors are considered significant in the pathogenesis of OA.
ASU-CLU-CS resulted in significant suppression of pro-inflammatory mediators, but not total elimination. However, the researchers conclude that this combination ASU-GLU-CS compound can minimize the disruptive effects by MCP-1 and PGE, such as sensitization of pain receptors and production of inflammatory and degradative enzymes.
Due to the different mechanism of action on MCP-1, the combination ASU-GLU-CS joint supplement might be useful to minimize joint inflammation, especially if combined with lower doses of NSAIDs to avoid some of the adverse effects of NSAIDs on the gastrointestinal and renal systems. More research is recommended to pursue this therapeutic option.