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Arzneimittelforschung. 1990 Mar;40(3):319-23.

Metabolic fate of exogenous chondroitin sulfate in the experimental animal.

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Institute of Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine, University of Pisa, Italy.


After the administration of tritiated chondroitin sulfate (CS) by oral and intramuscular route, the distribution of radioactivity was investigated in two opportunist omnivorous animals, namely the rat and the dog. More than 70% of the orally administered radioactivity was absorbed. Independently of the administration route, radioactivity was mainly excreted through the urine. Plasma levels showed a rapid increase after oral administration, followed by a large plateau with a maximum at the 14th and 28th h in the rat and in the dog, respectively. A tropism of the radioactivity was observed towards glycosaminoglycan-rich tissues, such as joint cartilage. The analysis of the molecular weight of the radioactive material showed that compounds with a molecular weight corresponding to those of CS, poly-, oligo- and monosaccharides as well as of tritiated water, were present in the plasma, urine, synovial fluid and cartilage. The level of radioactive low molecular weight material, derived from the metabolism of CS and from the exchange reaction, increased with the time after administration. The high molecular weight fraction represented at least 10% of the orally administered CS.

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