Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease leading to pain and disability for which no curative treatment exists. A promising biological treatment for OA is intra-articular administration of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP injections in OA joints can relieve pain, although the exact working mechanism is unclear. Purpose: To examine the effects of PRP releasate (PRPr) on pain, cartilage damage, and synovial inflammation in a mouse OA model. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: OA was induced unilaterally in the knees of male mice (n = 36) by 2 intra-articular injections of collagenase at days –7 and –5. At day 0, pain was measured by registering weight distribution on the hindlimbs, after which mice were randomly divided into 2 groups. Mice received 3 intra-articular injections of PRP or saline in the affected knee. Seven mice per group were euthanized at day 5 for assessment of early synovial inflammation and cartilage damage. Pain in the remaining mice was registered for a total of 3 weeks. These mice were euthanized at day 21 for assessment of cartilage damage and synovial inflammation on histological evaluation. Antibodies against iNOS, CD163, and CD206 were used to identify different subtypes of macrophages in the synovial membrane. Results: Mice in the PRPr group increased the distribution of weight on the affected joint in 2 consecutive weeks after the start of the treatment (P <.05), whereas mice in the saline group did not. At day 21, PRPr-injected knees had a thinner synovial membrane (P <.05) and a trend toward less cartilage damage in the lateral joint compartment (P =.053) than saline-injected knees. OA knees treated with saline showed less anti-inflammatory (CD206+ and CD163+) cells at day 5 than healthy knees, an observation that was not made in the PRPr-treated group. A higher level of pain at day 7 was associated with a thicker synovial membrane at day 21. The presence of CD206+ cells was negatively associated with synovial membrane thickness. Conclusion: In a murine OA model, multiple PRPr injections reduced pain and synovial thickness, possibly through modulation of macrophage subtypes. Clinical Relevance: PRPr injections in early OA or shortly after joint trauma can reduce pain and synovial inflammation and may inhibit OA development in patients.

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American Journal of Sports Medicine
Department of Orthopaedics

Khatab, S., van Buul, G., Kops, N., Bastiaansen-Jenniskens, Y., Bos, K., Verhaar, J., & van Osch, G. (2018). Intra-articular Injections of Platelet-Rich Plasma Releasate Reduce Pain and Synovial Inflammation in a Mouse Model of Osteoarthritis. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 46(4), 977–986. doi:10.1177/0363546517750635