rAAV-mediated overexpression of TGF-β via vector delivery in polymeric micelles stimulates the biological and reparative activities of human articular chondrocytes in vitro and in a human osteochondral defect model

Int J Nanomedicine. 2017 Sep 19:12:6985-6996. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S144579. eCollection 2017.


Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors are clinically adapted vectors to durably treat human osteoarthritis (OA). Controlled delivery of rAAV vectors via polymeric micelles was reported to enhance the temporal and spatial presentation of the vectors into their targets. Here, we tested the feasibility of delivering rAAV vectors via poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO) and poly (propylene oxide) (PPO) (poloxamer and poloxamine) polymeric micelles as a means to overexpress the therapeutic factor transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) in human OA chondrocytes and in experimental human osteochondral defects. Application of rAAV-human transforming growth factor-beta using such micelles increased the levels of TGF-β transgene expression compared with free vector treatment. Overexpression of TGF-β with these systems resulted in higher proteoglycan deposition and increased cell numbers in OA chondrocytes. In osteochondral defect cultures, a higher deposition of type-II collagen and reduced hypertrophic events were noted. Delivery of therapeutic rAAV vectors via PEO-PPO-PEO micelles may provide potential tools to remodel human OA cartilage.

Keywords: TGF-β; controlled delivery; human articular cartilage; poloxamer; poloxamine; rAAV gene transfer.

MeSH terms

  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects
  • Chondrocytes / pathology*
  • Dependovirus / metabolism*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Micelles*
  • Models, Biological
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Polyethylene Glycols / administration & dosage*
  • Propylene Glycols / administration & dosage*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / administration & dosage*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / pharmacology
  • Transgenes


  • Micelles
  • Propylene Glycols
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Polyethylene Glycols