In order to evaluate the improvement in the treatment of chronic arthritis, we investigated chondroitin sulfate depolymerization product (low molecular weight chondroitin sulfate, LMWCS) and intact chondroitin sulfate (CS) in vitro and in vivo. LMWCS was prepared by a chemical depolymerization process induced by hydrogen peroxide in the presence of copper salts. LMWCS (300 mg/kg) and CS (1200 mg/kg) were orally administered to DBA/1J mice once daily for 14 d prior to initial immunization with type II collagen. Their elastase activities and the production of cytokines in sera were examined on type II collagen-induced arthritis in DBA/1J mice. We also compared the paracellular transport of LMWCS and CS across Caco-2 cell monolayers and examined the inhibitory effects on elastase activities. LMWCS inhibited elastase activity slightly, but CS did not show inhibition. Hind paw edema was significantly decreased by LMWCS treatment. Levels of anti-type II collagen antibody and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) in sera were also reduced by LMWCS treatment but not in case of CS, although no significant difference was observed between LMWCS and CS on interleukin-6 (IL-6) induction. The LMWCS preparation showed preventive effects on the type II collagen-induced arthritis in DBA/1J mice and better permeability through Caco-2 cells.
2004 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan