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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Nov 2023 - 1 Dec 2023

2023 Nov 24

Sci Rep




Effect of intra-articular injection of a hyaluronic acid-alendronate conjugate on post-traumatic osteoarthritis induced by destabilization of the medial meniscus in rats.


Scanu A, Luisetto R, Pavan M, Guarise C, Beninatto R, Giraudo C, Galuppini F, Lazzarin V, Guzzardo V, Pennelli G, Galesso D, Masiero S


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic degenerative joint disease characterized by pain and cartilage damage. Intra-articular (i.a) viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid (HA) is frequently used for the management of OA. Preclinical studies have reported that bisphosphonates (BPs) may have a therapeutic potential to slow down or reverse the progression of OA. Among these, alendronate (ALN) has demonstrated chondroprotective effects in both in vitro and vivo experiments. This study evaluated the effects of a novel alendronate-hyaluronic acid (ALN-HA) conjugate on an OA in vivo model induced by medial meniscus destabilization (DMM). DMM surgery was performed on the knees of Sprague Dawley rats that received, after four weeks, one intra-articular (i.a.) injection of: (1) ALN-HA; (2) HA; (3) sodium chloride (NaCl). Sham-operated rats were used as control. Allodynia was assessed by Von Frey test. Joint degeneration was evaluated eight weeks after treatment by micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), histology, and immunohistochemistry. Collagen cross-linked C-telopeptides (CTX-I and CTX-II) serum levels were determined by ELISA. Paw withdrawal threshold increased in ALN-HA group when compared to rats treated with NaCl or HA. Micro-CT did not show differences between ALN-HA, HA and NaCl groups. ALN-HA injection produced significant improvements in articular cartilage degeneration showing an OARSI score lower than those of HA and NaCl, and reduced matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-13, MMP-3, interleukin-6, vascular endothelial growth factor and Caspase-3 expression. CTX-I was reduced after ALN-HA treatment when compared to NaCl. Our results indicate that i.a. use of ALN after conjugation with HA limits OA development and progression in the rat DMM model, and may lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies in OA management.