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Sulphate and osteoarthritis: decrease of serum sulphate levels by an additional 3-h fast and a 3-h glucose tolerance test after an overnight fast
  1. C M Blinn1,
  2. B A Biggee2,
  3. T E McAlindon3,
  4. M Nuite2,
  5. J E Silbert1
  1. 1Connective Tissue Research Laboratory, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston
  3. 3Rheumatology Division, Tufts-New England Medical Center
  1. Correspondence to:
    J E Silbert
    Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, 200 Springs Road, Bedford, MA 01730, USA;jesilbert{at}


Background: Low sulphate levels in blood may contribute to osteoarthritis by decreasing cartilage chondroitin sulphation.

Objective: To measure serum levels of sulphate during 3 h of fasting or glucose ingestion after overnight fasts to determine how much sulphate lowering may occur during this period.

Methods: Sera from 14 patients with osteoarthritis who fasted overnight were obtained every 15–30 min during 3 h of continued fasting and during 3 h after ingestion of 75 g of glucose. Sulphate was assayed by high-performance liquid chromatography with a Metrohm-Peak 761 Compact IC and simultaneously assayed for glucose by high-performance liquid chromatography with a Metrohm-Peak 817 Bioscan.

Results: Continuation of overnight fasting for 3 h resulted in a near-linear 3-h decrease in levels for all 14 patients ranging from 3% to 20% with a mean drop of 9.3%, whereas the 3-h decrease after glucose ingestion ranged from 10% to 33% with a mean drop of 18.9%.

Conclusion: A 3-h continuation of fasting caused a marked reduction in serum sulphate levels, whereas ingestion of 75 g of glucose in the absence of protein resulted in doubling the reduction. This suggests that fasting and ingestion of protein-free calories may produce periods of chondroitin undersulphation that could affect osteoarthritis.

  • BMI, body mass index

Statistics from


  • Funding: Support was provided by the Medical Research Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a grant to JES by the Arthritis Foundation, and by the Tufts University General Clinical Research Center, funded by the Division of Research Resources of the NIH under grant no MO1-RR00054, US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Award (T-32).

    Competing Interests : None declared.

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