Asian J Pharm Sci. 2023 Jul;18(4):100830. doi: 10.1016/j.ajps.2023.100830. Epub 2023 Jul 25.
Drug delivery via intra-articular (IA) injection has proved to be effective in osteoarthritis (OA) therapy, limited by the drug efficiency and short retention time of the drug delivery systems (DDSs). Herein, a series of modified cross-linked dextran (Sephadex, S0) was fabricated by respectively grafting with linear alkyl chains, branched alkyl chains or aromatic chain, and acted as DDSs after ibuprofen (Ibu) loading for OA therapy. This DDSs expressed sustained drug release, excellent anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects both in IL-1β induced chondrocytes and OA joints. Specifically, the introduction of a longer hydrophobic chain, particularly an aromatic chain, distinctly improved the hydrophobicity of S0, increased Ibu loading efficiency, and further led to significantly improving OA therapeutic effects. Therefore, hydrophobic microspheres with greatly improved drug loading ratio and prolonged degradation rates show great potential to act as DDSs for OA therapy.