This article was originally published here
Bone Res. 2021 Aug 23;9(1):38. doi: 10.1038/s41413-021-00153-1.
Glucose metabolism is fundamental for the functions of all tissues, including cartilage. Despite the emerging evidence related to glucose metabolism in the regulation of prenatal cartilage development, little is known about the role of glucose metabolism and its biochemical basis in postnatal cartilage growth and homeostasis. We show here that genetic deletion of the glucose transporter Glut1 in postnatal cartilage impairs cell proliferation and matrix production in growth plate (GPs) but paradoxically increases cartilage remnants in the metaphysis, resulting in shortening of long bones. On the other hand, articular cartilage (AC) with Glut1 deficiency presents diminished cellularity and loss of proteoglycans, which ultimately progress to cartilage fibrosis. Moreover, predisposition to Glut1 deficiency severely exacerbates injury-induced osteoarthritis. Regardless of the disparities in glucose metabolism between GP and AC chondrocytes under normal conditions, both types of chondrocytes demonstrate metabolic plasticity to enhance glutamine utilization and oxidation in the absence of glucose availability. However, uncontrolled glutamine flux causes collagen overmodification, thus affecting extracellular matrix remodeling in both cartilage compartments. These results uncover the pivotal and distinct roles of Glut1-mediated glucose metabolism in two of the postnatal cartilage compartments and link some cartilage abnormalities to altered glucose/glutamine metabolism.