Cartilage changes in rats induced by papain and the influence of treatment with N-acetylglucosamine.

Published online: Jun 27 1991

J Grevenstein, I Michiels, M Arens-Corell, and E Stofft.

Orthopädische Universitätsklinik, Mainz, Germany.


Cartilage damage in the knee joints of rats was induced with a single intraarticular injection of 10 mg papain. Such damage was indicated by a decrease in the content of glycosaminoglycans and histologically detectable alterations in the surface of patellar cartilage. Daily treatment of the rats with N-acetylglucosamine by gavage led to an increase of the glycosaminoglycans of the cartilage and of incorporation of the radioactive precursor of glycosaminoglycan synthesis, 3H-glucosamine hydrochloride, in comparison to control animals treated with saline. The incidence of pathological alterations of the cartilage in histological samples was reduced.