Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 2017, 7, 254-266
ISSN Online: 2161-7627
ISSN Print: 2161-7597
DOI: 10.4236/ojas.2017.73020 July 6, 2017
The Effectiveness of Specific Collagen Peptides
on Osteoarthritis in Dogs-Impact on Metabolic
Processes in Canine Chondrocytes
Michael Schunck1*, Helen Louton2, Steffen Oesser1
1Collagen Research Institute, Kiel, Germany
2Department of Veterinary Sciences, Institute of Animal Welfare, Animal Behavior, Animal Hygiene and Animal Husbandry,
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich, Munich, Germany
In clinical trials over the past decade, the beneficial effect of orally admini
tered collagen peptides in osteoarthritic dogs has been clearly demonstrated
  
. Although a statistically significant improvement in the lameness
and vitality of dogs in general has been documented, the mode of action of the
collagen peptide treatment is still under discussion. A previous study  i
dicated that the reduction in lameness and increased mobility in dogs after
collagen peptide treatment were associated with a statistically significantly l
wered plasma content of MMP-3, wh
ich is involved in collagen degradation.
In addition, the content of the MMP-antagonist TIMP-1 increased slightly a
ter collagen peptide supplementation, suggesting a direct impact on the cart
lage metabolism, particularly on the decrease of extracellular matrix degrad
tion. Based on these findings, the impact of specific collagen peptides (PETA
GILE®) on cartilage metabolism was tested in canine chondrocytes in the cu
rent investigation. In addition to the biosynthesis of various matrix molecules
(type II collagen, aggrecan and elastin), the RNA profile of inflammatory c
tokines and degenerative matrix molecules was investigated.
showed clearly that the supplementation of specific collagen peptides reduced
catabolic processes, as indicated by a statistically significant decrease in i
flammatory cytokines and proteases in canine chondrocytes compared with
untreated control experiments. In addition, a statistically significantly e
hanced biosynthesis of type II collagen, elastin, and aggrecan was
Hence, the current data supports the suggested anti-
inflammatory effect of
specific collagen peptides, but also clearly demonstrates a pronounced stim
latory impact on matrix molecule synthesis. A combination of both observed
effects might help t
o explain the previously reported clinical improvements
after collagen peptide supplementation. Furthermore, the beneficial effect of
How to cite this paper:
, H. and Oesser, S. (2017) The Effec-
tiveness of Specific Collagen Peptides
Osteoarthritis in Dogs
-Impact on Metabol-
ic Processes in Canine Chondrocytes
Journal of Animal Sciences
May 4, 2017
July 3, 2017
July 6, 2017
Copyright © 201
7 by authors and
Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the
Commons Attribution International
License (CC BY
M. Schunck et al.
the specific collagen peptides was also confirmed in case reports on osteoarth-
ritic dogs that demonstrated decreased lamen
ess and increased vitality in the
affected animals after PETAGILE treatment.
Specific Collagen Peptides, Osteoarthritis, Dogs, Metabolism, Cartilage Tissue
Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative joint disease in pets and humans. Dogs
are mainly affected as a consequence of dysfunctions of the ankles and breed-
ing-related ankle anomalies, as in German shepherd dogs . Nowadays, dogs
are used to a lesser extent as working animals like sheepdogs, hunting or guard
dogs. Their role as an alternative life partner or pet dog leads to other urban-re-
lated alterations in these animals. An extended life span through optimized pri-
mary health care or, conversely, misconceived animal welfare with overfeeding
or an inappropriate diet often leads to a degenerative osteoarthritic joint disease
with symptoms of chronic pain and increasing lameness. Restricted vitality and
disability is a direct consequence of the osteoarthritic defect in the dogs . The
American Pet Products Association (2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey) es-
timated a canine population of 72 million dogs in the United States. Some 14
million of these dogs are estimated to be affected by osteoarthritis. Consequent-
ly, approximately 20% of dogs older than 1 year are suffering from osteoarthritis
 , which also implies a reduction in the quality of life for the dogs’ owners.
An improvement in animals’ health conditions is, therefore, of widespread in-
terest for pet owners. Current treatments tend to focus on osteoarthritic symp-
toms that alleviate inflammation and reduce pain by the use of Non-Steroidal
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), but pay no attention to the actual cause
. In recent years, various so-called chondroprotective drugs for dogs and hu-
mans have appeared on the market. These nutraceuticals claim to provide a car-
tilage-protecting quality and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Although the ef-
ficacy of the chondroprotectives is still under discussion, they are promoted as
safe and effective components for managing canine osteoarthritis without ap-
preciable side-effects      .
A further supposed therapeutic approach for the treatment of osteoarthritis is
the restoration of cartilage tissue by the injection of mesenchymal stem cells into
the osteoarthritic affected joint. The idea behind this therapy is to enhance the
cell count in the cartilage tissue and so stimulate the regeneration of extra cellu-
lar cartilage matrix. To date, these methods have failed to demonstrate the res-
toration of a durable cartilage surface to an osteoarthritic joint  .
Nevertheless, stimulation of the extracellular matrix synthesis seems to be a
promising approach as it addresses not only disease-related symptoms, but fo-
cuses on the basic cause of osteoarthritis-the metabolic imbalance of the carti-
M. Schunck et al.
Findings with an imaging method by McAlindon
. in 2011 indicated for
the first time that orally administered collagen peptides have the potential to
stimulate proteoglycan synthesis in the knee joints of people with mild forms of
osteoarthritis . With this in mind, the aim of the current research was to in-
vestigate the effectiveness of specific collagen peptides on the metabolism of car-
tilage connective tissue in canine chondrocytes. Furthermore, the pre-clinical
findings with specific collagen peptides were to be investigated under
conditions in a small number of dogs with mild to moderate osteoarthritis. The
investigation might help to introduce a new approach for the treatment of os-
teoarthritis in dogs and establish specific collagen peptides as an effective and
safe chondroprotective agent. This could, in turn, improve the quality of life for
millions of affected dogs.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Design
2.1.1. In Vitro Examination
The mechanism of action of specific collagen peptides for the gene expression
profile and biosynthesis of extracellular matrix molecules was to be investigated
in cell culture experiments on primary canine chondrocytes.
The canine chondrocytes (095Cn402-05, tebu-bio GmbH, Offenbach, Ger-
many) were seeded on 12-well culture plates. The cells were kept in monolayer at
37˚C, 5% CO2 and O2-reduced atmosphere (5%) and cultivated in Ham’s F12
medium, supplemented with 10% fetal calf serum, 20 U/ml penicillin-strepto-
mycin and 50 µg/ml ascorbic acid. The medium was renewed every second day
until a cell confluence of 80% was reached. The regular medium was then re-
placed with the stimulation medium supplemented with 0.5 mg/ml of the specif-
ic collagen peptides.
For the gene expression studies, the chondrocyte monolayer cultures were
treated for 24 hours in comparison with untreated control experiments. RNA
was purified by extraction with the phenol (PeqGoldTriFast, VWR, Erlangen,
Germany)-chloroform method. The RNA expression of matrix molecules and
other chondrocyte related genes was determined semi-quantitatively via Real-
time Polymerase-Chain-Reaction. The RT-PCR examination was performed
(DyNAmo Flash SYBR Green, Thermo Scientific, MA, USA) after the RNA
concentration had been photometrically determined. For each reaction, 10 to 40
ng of transcribed cDNA was added after individual optimization in preliminary
tests for all genes. 12.5 µl distilled water, 5.0 µl DyNAmo Flash Master Mix, and
1.25 µl of the designed primer pairs described in Table 1 were used for the sam-
ple. The following reaction profile was programmed: Singular 7’ 95˚C, 35 - 45
repeated cycles of denaturation for 10’’ at 95˚C followed by 15’’ at annealing
temperatures (view Table 1) and elongation 20’’ at 72˚C. The reaction was
stopped by a melting temperature of 60˚C for 60’’. The RNA expression was de-
termined in relation to the housekeeping gene GAPDH. For all the genes under
M. Schunck et al.
Table 1. Primer sequences used for RT-PCR analysis.
Gene Fwd. Seq (5'-3') Rv. Seq (3'-5') Tm (˚C) Accession
GAPDH GTGACACCCACTCTTCCACC GAGGCCATGTAGACCATGAGG 55.0 NM_001003142.1
Collagen type II TGGCTTCAAAGGCGAACAAG TTTGGACCTGCCAGACCATC 51.7 XM_847773.3
Aggrecan CACTCAGGAGAGGAGACCCA GCAGGTGGCTCCATTCAAAC 55.0 NM_001113455.1
Elastin GGCCTGGGAATTGGTGGTAA CTCTTCCGGCCACAGGATTT 53.2 XM_005620958
GGCCTCCAACTAATCAGCCC CTGGCTTGTCACTTGGGGTT 55.0 XM_001003244.4
CAGCCAGTCTTCACTATTCAGGT AGACTTGCAACTGGATGCCC 50.0 XM_005630074.1
IL-6 ACCACTCACCTCTGCAAACAA GTGCCTCTTTGCTGTCTTCAC 55.5 NM_001003301.1
MMP-13 ACAACCACCAAGATGCTCCC CCAGCAGGATTCAGGGGATAG 61.8 XM_536598.3
ADAMTS4 CATGTGCAACGTCAAGGCTC CGACTCAGTGAAGCAAAGCG 50.0 XM_545768.4
ADAMTS5 TGTGGGAAGGGGAGGATCTG GCGACCATTGTTTCTGGGTG 64.6 XM_846025.3
investigation, the annealing temperature (Tm ˚C) was optimized in a twelve-step
gradient PCR amplification ranging from 50˚C to 70˚C. PCR products were
electrophoretically separated on a 2% agarose gel (3 g agarose diluted in 150 mL
buffer of 0.05 M EDTA, 40 mM Tris, 57.1 mL acetic acid) stained with 10 µL
GelRed (41003, BIOTREND Chemikalien GmbH, Cologne, Germany). Amplifi-
cated PCR products were analyzed in an Alpha Innotech Fluorchem Imager
(Bio-Rad Laboratories GmbH, Munich, Germany). The PCR products were spe-
cified by a 50 bp-DNA-Fluoro-Ladder (8263.1, Carl Roth GmbH, Karlsruhe,
In the case of the biosynthesis of the main extracellular matrix molecules,
commercial assay kits were used. For the collagen type II metabolism investiga-
tions, the amount of newly generated collagen was determined after three weeks
of stimulation. Synthesized collagen was isolated by the Sircol assay (tebu-bio,
Offenbach, Germany) in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. In
brief, the culture medium was discarded and adherent cell layers were digested
in 0.1 mg pepsin solution in 0.5 M acetic acid at 4˚C overnight. Cell suspensions
were neutralized by the addition of 100 µl acid neutral reagent, and synthesized
collagen was subsequently separated by the supplementation of 200 µl isolation
& concentration kit solution and vigorous agitation at 4˚C overnight. After cen-
trifugation (12,000 rpm, 10’) and discarding of the supernatants, isolated colla-
gen was re-suspended in 1 ml Sircol dye reagent. After 30 min of agitation and
further centrifugation, the collagen pellet was overloaded with 750 µl of cold ac-
id-solid wash reagent. After centrifugation, the supernatant was again discarded
and the enriched collagen was resolved in 250 µl of alkali solution. 200 µl of
these sample solutions were taken for photometrical quantification of the syn-
thesized collagen. The extinction was measured at 492 nm. The amount was de-
termined on the basis of standard measured collagen solutions.
The Blyscan glycosaminoglycan assay (tebu-bio, Offenbach, Germany) was
used for the detection of aggrecan. The biosynthesis of proteoglycans was de-
termined after a two-week stimulation. In accordance with the manufacturer’s
instructions, the cell layers were overloaded with 1 ml papain extraction solution
M. Schunck et al.
after the cell culture medium was discarded and incubated for 3 h at 65˚C with
vigorous agitation. The cell suspensions were centrifuged (10,000 g, 10’) and the
supernatants were collected. After the addition of 1 ml Blyscan dye solution and
agitation (30’), the supernatants were again centrifuged (12,000 rpm, 10’) and
discarded. Isolated proteoglycan pellets were re-suspended in 500 µl dissociation
solution. 200 µl per sample was determined photometrically at 656 nm in com-
parison to untreated control experiments.
The synthesis of elastin was determined by the Fastin elastin assay kit (te-
bu-bio, Offenbach, Germany). Chondrocytes were stimulated for 2 weeks with
the specific collagen peptides or left untreated as a control experiment. After
discarding the culture medium, the cell monolayers were solubilized with 250 µl
trypsin. Trypsin solution was removed after centrifugation (3000 rpm, 10’). Cell
pellets were resolved in 100 µl oxalate acid solution (1 M) and boiled for 1 h in a
water bath. After cooling, 300 µl elastin precipitation solvent was added to pre-
cipitate dissolved elastin within 15 minutes. After centrifugation (10’), the su-
pernatant was discarded and the elastin pellet was resolved in 1 ml dye solution
by 90 minutes’ agitation. After a repeated centrifugation and discarding of the
supernatant the elastin pellet was re-suspended in 260 µl dye dissociation solu-
tion. 200 µl of the resolvents were used for photometrical elastin measurement at
a wave length of 492 nm.
3.1.2. In Vivo Examination
The pre-clinical findings on primary canine chondrocytes were validated on a
small number of selected osteoarthritic dogs (n = 22). In these case reports, the
efficacy of the specific collagen peptides was evaluated under in vivo conditions.
All the dogs in our current research had a treatment-resistant history. All pre-
viously performed treatment options had failed. The observational treatments
conducted on these animals in our investigation were performed in accordance
with guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals  as well as the nu-
tritional assessment guidelines for dogs and cats , and with the full consent
of the pet owners.
An opportunity to use blood samples arose in three of the case subjects. These
blood samples remained after routine blood tests in the veterinary practices and
could be analyzed for potential biomarkers of cartilage metabolism. Commercial
canine-specific ELISA kits were used for the cartilage biomarker analysis: In
plasma samples, ELISA’s for procollagen type II (CP II, 60-1003-001) and ag-
grecan chondroitin sulfate (CS846, 60-1004) from Ibex Pharmaceuticals, Mon-
treal, Canada, and for the detection of hyaluronic acid (HA, MBS737480), carti-
lage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP, MBS012790), matrix metalloprotease-3
(MMP-3, MBS703093), and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteases-1 (TIMP-1,
MBS006398), ELISA’s were provided by My Biosource, Eching, Germany. All
investigations were performed according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
The specific collagen peptides used in the current research are commercially
available under the brand name PETAGILE®, provided by GELITA AG (Eber-
bach, Germany). The test product is composed of different specific collagen pep-
M. Schunck et al.
tides with a high safety profile derived from a complex multistep procedure by
the degradation of bovine type I collagen. It is classified as a safe food by the
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, 2005) and by the Food and Drug Ad-
ministration (FDA, 2003).
The dogs received 5 g of the specific collagen peptides with their regular pet
food once a day for a period of 12 weeks. Their usual veterinarians accompanied
the course of treatment and provided information on the medical history of the
animals by means of an orthopedic examination. The degree of osteoarthritis
was assigned a lameness score on a 5-point scale from 0 = no lameness to 4 =
high degree of lameness with relieving posture of the affected limb (Table 2).
Lameness-related parameters, “pain at activity”, “joint swelling”, “instability”
and “restriction of mobility” were evaluated on a 4-point scale from 0 = without
symptoms, 1 = low, 2 = moderate and 3 = severe symptoms. The validation of
“pain at activity” was based on the characterization of step-wise abnormal beha-
vior of the dogs in the palpation inspection. A low degree of pain at activity was
characterized by licking flews, twitching the ears, looking in the direction of
pain, and increased panting. A moderate degree was defined by anxiousness,
loud panting, straining in the muscles of the OA affected limb, turning around
to the painful ankle, and limping. A severe degree of pain at activity was deter-
mined if the dog was trembling and the whole skeletal musculature was strained.
Also if the dog barked, whimpered, growled, or snapped.
Joint swelling was characterized by an increased amount of synovia fluid,
which led to a graduated extension of the ankle volume.
Instability of the affected ankles was classified by the so-called drawer test.
Finally, with regard to the restriction of mobility, the maximum deflection
possibility of the affected ankles was determined. The instability of the ankles
and movement restriction was graded according to the expertise of the attending
The pet owners were asked to evaluate changes in the dogs’ behavior regard-
ing their everyday routine, such as “discomfort when climbing stairs” or “prob-
lems when standing up”, and of their “vitality” in general. These parameters
were evaluated on a 6-point scale with 1 = near complete immobilization (90%)
to 6 = no pain or restriction in mobility. In addition, “tenderness on palpation”,
which often occurs when combing, for example, is common in dogs suffering
from backbone pain. Changes in this pain were evaluated in 3-categories because
of the smooth transition between the degree of pain levels. It was classified as 1 =
Table 2. Degree of lameness.
0 No lameness
1 Indistinct, mild symptoms (only at trot)
2 Deranged, consistent wearing (at step & trot)
3 Moderate degree, inconsistent wearing (only tiptoeing)
4 High degree of lameness with relieving posture of the affected limb
M. Schunck et al.
no pain on palpation, 2 = moderate contact pain, and 3 = severe contact pain
with defensive reactions (biting, snapping).
4. Statistical Analysis
Statistically significant differences in the RNA expression of cartilage matrix
molecules, inflammatory cytokines, and matrix metalloproteases were analyzed
by the One-Student’s T-test in comparison to untreated control cells. For a
p-value < 0.05, the difference was accepted as statistically significant.
Statistically significant changes in the degree of lameness in the case subjects
were calculated with an analysis of variances with repeated measurement. For a
p-value < 0.05, the difference was accepted as statistically significant. Improve-
ments in the dogs’ vitality were also calculated with a repeated measurement
ANOVA. P-values < 0.05 were accepted as statistically significant. Changes con-
cerning everyday routine or contact pain were calculated with the Wilcoxon
signed-rank test in comparison to the baseline situation. For a p-value < 0.05,
the difference was accepted as statistically significant.
Alterations in the biomarkers’ plasma content and in the physiological, os-
teoarthritic-related parameters of the case subjects were statistically validated by
sign-tests in comparison with the baseline situation. For completeness of the re-
sults, this data is listed in a table format.
5. Results and Discussion
5.1. Mechanism of Action of Specific Collagen Peptides
A clearly increased RNA expression (p < 0.05) of the main extracellular cartilage
matrix molecules (type II collagen, aggrecan, elastin) compared to the control
cells was induced (Table 3) after the PETAGILE treatment of canine chondro-
cytes. The positive impact of the specific collagen peptides on cartilage metabol-
ism was also demonstrated by an increased accumulation of new synthesized
collagen type II (7.5%), aggrecan (5.5%) and elastin (6.3%) at the end of the sti-
mulation period of 2 - 3 weeks.
Moreover, the statistically significant (p < 0.05) down regulation of inflame-
matory cytokines and of degenerative matrix metalloproteases (Table 3) indi-
cated that the metabolic processes of the chondrocytes are directly influenced by
Table 3. Gene expression profile in canine chondrocytes by specific collagen peptides supplementation. An increment of the bio-
synthesis of ECM-molecules is shown in relation to the baseline situation (+ %). (n = 46, x-fold of control, Student’s T-test, p <
0.05 statistically significant, Coll. Type II = collagen type II, TNFα = tumor necrosis factor α, IL = interleukin, MMP = matrix
metalloprotease, ADAMTS = a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin-1-like domains).
Extracellular matrix Inflammatory cytokines Degenerative proteases
type II Aggrecan Elastin TNFα IL-1
IL-6 MMP-13 ADAMTS4 ADAMTS5
1.62 ± 0.33
3.23 ± 1.01
13.0 ± 4.33
(+6.3%) 0.44 ± 0.15 0.15 ± 0.05 0.55 ± 0.16 0.23 ± 0.05 0.07 ± 0.03 0.01 ± 0.01
p-value 0.034 0.018 0.024 0.003 <0.001 0.003 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001
M. Schunck et al.
the specific collagen peptides.
5.2. Efficacy of Specific Collagen Peptides in Osteoarthritic Dogs
In the current investigation, the beneficial effect of PETAGILE on joint cartilage
was validated in a small number of osteoarthritic dogs that had previously not
reacted to osteoarthritic treatments. The supplementation of 5 g of PETAGILE
per day to the regular diet resulted in a statistically significant (p < 0.001) reduc-
tion in lameness compared to the situation at the beginning of the treatment
(Figure 1). Only minor symptoms were described by the attending veterinarians
after the 12-week treatment period.
The veterinary findings were confirmed by a continuous increase in the vitali-
ty of the animals (p < 0.001) as observed by the dogs’ owners (Figure 1). The
positive influence of the specific collagen peptides was supported by a high effect
size level for both assessments (
2 > 0.5).
Pet owners also reported on improvements in their dogs’ daily routines. After
12 weeks of treatment, a statistically significant decreased discomfort in standing
up (p = 0.007, Figure 2) and a clear reduction in contact pain was reported by
the dog owners (p = 0.001, Figure 3). The beneficial effect of the specific colla-
gen peptides was also demonstrated by the large effect size of
2 = 0.2125 for
these parameters. In contrast, discomfort at climbing stairs only showed a
smaller improvement by trend (p = 0.089,
2 = 0.0296). This might be due to the
less pronounced symptoms at the beginning of treatment among the dogs when
A more detailed analysis of various blood parameters was performed on three
dogs in which the attending veterinarians had observed a statistically significant
improvement in the degree of lameness and lameness-related discomfort after 12
Figure 1. The lameness of the osteoarthritic dogs decreased continuously in the course of
the collagen peptide treatment as stated by the attending veterinaries (orange line). Dur-
ing the study period, the pet owners observed an increased vitality in their dogs (blue line,
± SEM, ANOVA, p < 0.05 statistically significant,
2 = effect size).
M. Schunck et al.
Figure 2. Evaluation of the everyday routine of the osteoarthritic dogs. Comparison of the
evaluated parameters “discomfort at standing up” and “discomfort at climbing stairs” at the
end of the treatment period (12th week) in comparison with the baseline situation (1st week,
± SEM, Wilcoxon rank-test, p < 0.05 statistically significant,
2 = effect size).
Figure 3. Evaluation of “contact pain” by pet owners at the end of
the treatment period (12th week) in comparison with the baseline
situation (1st week,
± SEM, Wilcoxon rank-test, p < 0.05 statis-
2 = effect size).
weeks of treatment (p = 0.006). All the dogs were crossbreed, older (8, 9 and 11
years) and a relieving posture in one or both front limbs was diagnosed during
the orthopedic examination. Moreover, the dogs were characterized on a 5-point
scale of the body conditioning score (BCS). As osteoarthritis is often associated
with overweight  , the body weight of the animals was also checked. Two
female dogs were slightly overweight with 10% above the ideal body weight,
while the one male dog had a normal BCS (Table 4).
The blood-sample analyses revealed a positive impact on the cartilage matrix
molecule synthesis after supplementation with the specific collagen peptides
(Table 5). The amount of the metabolic biomarkers CP-II, CS846, HA, and
M. Schunck et al.
Table 4. Demographic values of three case subjects and validation of osteoarthritic-related parameters by the attending veterina-
rians at baseline and end of treatment (12th week, y = year, kg = kilogram).
Case subject 1 2 3
Breed Crossbreed Crossbreed Crossbreed
Age 11 y 9 y 8 y
Gender Female Female Male
Weight 14 kg 33 kg 37 kg
Conditioning Score 10% above ideal body weight 10% above ideal body weight Ideal body weight
Relieving posture at
right front limb
Relieving posture at
both front limbs Relieving posture at both front limbs
Validation baseline 12th week baseline 12th week baseline 12th week
Pain at activity moderate-severe low moderate low moderate-severe moderate
Joint swelling low low low-moderate none low-moderate low
Instability low low low low moderate low
Restriction of mobility low-moderate low low-moderate moderate moderate low-moderate
Lameness 3 2 1 - 2 1 2 1
Table 5. Cartilage metabolic biomarkers in routine blood samples of the case at baseline and end of treatment (12th week, ng/ml
plasma, y = year, ♀ = female, ♂ = male, Δ = difference 12th week to baseline, CP-II = procollagen type II, CS846 = chondroitin
sulfate 846, HA = hyaluronic acid, COMP = cartilage oligomeric matrix protein, MMP-3 = matrix metalloprotease-3, TIMP-1 =
tissue inhibitor of metalloproteases-1).
Case subject Biomarker CP-II CS846 HA COMP MMP-3 TIMP-1
11 y ♀
Baseline 139.35 47.99 286.20 16.58 3.11 3.30
12th week 547.79 53.11 406.09 20.80 2.57 3.57
∆ (ng/ml) +408.44 +5.12 +119.89 +4.22 −0.54 +0.27
9 y ♀
Baseline 576.67 44.06 334.61 13.41 1.33 13.41
12th week 712.28 46.54 193.09 15.37 1.26 132.57
∆ (ng/ml) +135.61 +2.48 −141.52 +1.96 −0.07 +119.16
8 y ♂
Baseline 493.95 53.59 136.53 13.26 1.44 not detectable
12th week 1326.6 59.35 413.96 15.97 1.17 9.68
∆ (ng/ml) +832.65 +5.76 +277.43 +2.71 −0.27 -
COMP increased after 12 weeks of collagen peptides supplementation compared
to the baseline situation. Biomarkers associated with degenerative cartilage
processes were also positively influenced by the specific collagen peptides. The
MMP-3 plasma content decreased at the end of the treatment whereas the
amount of its antagonist, TIMP-1, increased. A statistically significant difference
(p < 0.001) was determined for alterations in all the osteoarthritis-related bio-
markers tested in comparison with the baseline situation.
The modified plasma levels of MMP-3 and TIMP-1 in particular confirmed
the findings described by Weide  for collagen peptide treatment in osteoarth-
Our findings suggest that the efficacy of specific collagen peptides for the
M. Schunck et al.
treatment of osteoarthritis is not only based on its anti-degenerative and an-
ti-inflammatory potential, but instead, seems to be primarily a consequence of
its positive impact on the metabolism of extracellular cartilage matrix molecules.
This could be demonstrated for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, for
the same specific collagen peptides on primary canine chondrocytes and under
conditions. The correlation with the results of the cell-culture experi-
ments and of the treatment success in osteoarthritic dogs clearly demonstrate the
effectiveness of the specific collagen peptides, PETAGILE, in the current re-
The stimulation of the chondrocyte matrix metabolism and reduced lameness
with a resulting increased vitality in osteoarthritic dogs are accompanied by an
appropriate blood plasma profile of biomarkers, which directly corresponded
with metabolic processes in cartilage tissue. That biomarkers such as hyaluronic
acid (HA) correlate very well with an osteoarthritic disease pattern in dogs was
already described by Plickert in 2011 .
Our experimental set-up for the treatment of osteoarthritic dogs further indi-
cated that PETAGILE is an optimized mixture of specific collagen peptides for
the treatment of pets. In recent trials on osteoarthritic dogs of similar age and
body weight, a daily dosage of 10 or 20 g of collagen peptides were required to
achieve a positive impact in osteoarthritis treatment   . In our current
research, the dosage of specific collagen peptides could be reduced to 5 g per day
to achieve an osteoarthritic treatment success.
The current investigation clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of specific
collagen peptides that focus mainly on the regeneration of the extracellular car-
tilage matrix. Our data suggests that inflammatory and degenerative processes
may be reduced after PETAGILE supplementation and, as a consequence, an
improvement in cartilage structure could be determined.
The effectiveness of PETAGILE is clearly demonstrated in primary canine
chondrocytes as shown by a statistically significant stimulation of the extracellu-
lar cartilage matrix synthesis and the decreased expression of inflammatory cy-
tokines and matrix metalloproteases.
Osteoarthritic dogs benefit from PETAGILE administration, as the decrease in
lameness and increased vitality illustrates. The data suggest that specific collagen
peptides can improve cartilage extracellular matrix structure, as demonstrated
by the positive impact of the cartilage-related plasma biomarkers as well as by
the stimulated biosynthesis of matrix molecules in canine chondrocytes.
The beneficial effect of PETAGILE with respect to degenerative processes in
cartilage was moreover demonstrated by a decrease in MMP-3 content and by a
concurrent increased level of TIMP-1 in the plasma samples of the case subjects.
Although the current results confirm the anti-inflammatory effects and pro-
tection against degenerative processes of collagen peptides for the treatment of
osteoarthritis in dogs, the stimulation of the cartilage matrix synthesis seems to
M. Schunck et al.
be even more important in the treatment of osteoarthritis, as illustrated by the
increased synthesis of collagen type II (+7.5%), aggrecan (+5.5%), and elastin
(6.3%) in canine chondrocytes.
The current investigation demonstrated the positive impact of the specific
collagen peptides PETAGILE on osteoarthritis in dogs and suggests a possible
mode of action.
On the basis of these results, a randomized, double-blind and placebo-con-
trolled clinical study is currently planned to confirm the efficacy of PETAGILE
for the treatment of osteoarthritic dogs.
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