Nanoparticle Properties for Delivery to Cartilage: The Implications of Disease State, Synovial Fluid, and Off-Target Uptake. Academic Article uri icon


  • A major hurdle limiting the ability to treat and cure osteoarthritis, a common and debilitating disease, is rapid joint clearance and limited cartilage targeting of intra-articular therapies. Nanoscale drug carriers have the potential to improve therapeutic targeting and retention in the joint after direct injection; however, there still lacks a fundamental understanding of how the physicochemical properties of nanoparticles (NPs) influence localization to the degenerating cartilage and how joint conditions such as disease state and synovial fluid impact NP biodistribution. The goal of this study was to assess how physicochemical properties of NPs influence their interactions with joint tissues and, ultimately, cartilage localization. Ex vivo models of joint tissues were used to study how poly(lactide- co-glycolide) (PLGA) and polystyrene (PS) NP size, charge, and surface chemistry influence cartilage retention under normal and disease-mimicking conditions. Of the particles investigated, PLGA NPs surface-modified with a quaternary ammonium cation had the greatest retention within cartilage explants; however, retention was diminished 2- to 2.9-fold in arthritic tissue and in the presence of synovial fluid. Interactions with synovial fluid induced changes to NP surface properties and colloidal stability in vitro. The impact of NP charge on "off-target" synoviocyte uptake was also dependent on synovial fluid interactions. The results suggest that the design of nanocarriers for targeted drug delivery within the joint cannot be based on a single parameter such as zeta potential or size, and that the fate of injected delivery systems will likely be influenced by the disease state of the joint and the presence of synovial fluid.

published proceedings

  • Mol Pharm

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Brown, S., Pistiner, J., Adjei, I. M., & Sharma, B

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Brown, Shannon||Pistiner, Jake||Adjei, Isaac M||Sharma, Blanka

publication date

  • February 2019