Osteoarthritis (OA) remains one of the common degenerative joint diseases and a major cause of pain and disability in older adult individuals. Oral administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as diclofenac, DIC) or intra-articular injected gluco-corticosteroids (such as dexamethasone, DEX) were the conventional treatment strategies for OA to reduce joint pain. Current limitations for both drugs including severe adverse effects with risks of toxicity were noted. The aim of the present study was to generate a novel OA treatment formulation hyaluronic acid (HA)-Liposomal (Lipo)-DIC/DEX to combat joint pain. The formulation was prepared by constructing DIC with DEX-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers Lipo-DIC/DEX mixed with hyaluronic acid (HA) for prolonged OA application. The prepared Lipo-DIC/DEX nanoparticles revealed the size as 103.6 ± 0.3 nm on average, zeta potential as -22.3 ± 4.6 mV, the entrapment efficiency of 90.5 ± 5.6%, and the DIC and DEX content was 22.5 ± 4.1 and 2.5 ± 0.6%, respectively. Evidence indicated that HA-Lipo-DIC/DEX could reach the effective working concentration in 4 h and sustained the drug-releasing time for at least 168 h. No significant toxicities but increased cell numbers were observed when HA-Lipo-DIC/DEX co-cultured with articular chondrocytes cells. Using live-animal In vivo imaging system (IVIS), intra-articular injection of each HA-Lipo-DIC/DEX sufficed to reduce knee joint inflammation in OA mice over a time span of four weeks. Single-dose injection could reduce the inflammation volume down to 77.5 ± 5.1% from initial over that time span. Our results provided the novel drug-releasing formulation with safety and efficiency which could be a promising system for osteoarthritis pain control.
Keywords: dexamethasone; diclofenac; liposomal nanoparticle; osteoarthritis.