Controlled biomaterial-based corticosteroid release might circumvent multiple injections and the accompanying risks, such as hormone imbalance and muscle weakness, in osteoarthritic (OA) patients. For this purpose, microspheres were prepared from an amino acid-based polyester amide (PEA) platform and loaded with triamcinolone acetonide (TAA). TAA loaded microspheres were shown to release TAA for over 60 days in PBS. Furthermore, the bioactivity lasted at least 28 days, demonstrated by a 80–95% inhibition of PGE2 production using TNFα-stimulated chondrocyte culture, indicating inhibition of inflammation. Microspheres loaded with the near infrared marker NIR780-iodide injected in healthy rat joints or joints with mild collagenase-induced OA showed retention of the microspheres up till 70 days after injection. After intra-articular injection of TAA-loaded microspheres, TAA was detectable in the serum until day seven. Synovial inflammation was significantly lower in OA joints injected with TAA-loaded microspheres based on histological Krenn scores. Injection of TAA-loaded nor empty microspheres had no effect on cartilage integrity as determined by Mankin scoring. In conclusion, the PEA platform shows safety and efficacy upon intra-articular injection, and its extended degradation and release profiles compared to the currently used PLGA platforms may render it a good alternative. Even though further in vivo studies may need to address dosing and readout parameters such as pain, no effect on cartilage pathology was found and inflammation was effectively lowered in OA joints.

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Keywords Corticosteroids, Inflammation, Intra-articular, Microspheres, Osteoarthritis
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Journal Journal of Controlled Release
Rudnik-Jansen, I. (Imke), Colen, S. (Sascha), Berard, J. (Julien), Plomp, S. (Saskia), Que, I, van Rijen, M. (Mattie), … Creemers, L.B. (2017). Prolonged inhibition of inflammation in osteoarthritis by triamcinolone acetonide released from a polyester amide microsphere platform. Journal of Controlled Release, 253, 64–72. doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2017.03.014