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Chondroitin sulphate: a complex molecule with potential impacts on a wide range of biological systems

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Issue number1
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)56-62
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Chondroitin sulphate (CS) is widely consumed orally by humans, and non-humans as it is believed to be beneficial for those with joint-related pathologies. Data concerning the functions of chondroitin sulphate in this, and other, biological systems are being actively extended. However, it is important to appreciate that chondroitin sulphate molecules represent a heterogeneous population the structure of which varies with source. As commercially available chondroitin sulphate is derived from a range of sources, and the molecular functions of chondroitin sulphate depend upon the structure, there are a range of structures available with differing potential for therapeutic impacts on a range of pathologies. While the safety of CS is not presently in doubt, poor quality finished products have the potential to compromise clinical and lab-based studies and will fail to give consumers all of the benefits available. Major parameters including bioavailability and uptake have been studied but it is clear that significant challenges remain in the identification of composition, sequence and size impacts on function, understanding how the consumed material is altered during uptake and travels to a site of action and how it exerts an influence on biological processes. If we understand these factors it may be possible to predict impacts upon biological processes and identify specific chondroitin sulphate structures which may target specific pathologies.