Injectable Drug Delivery Systems for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Maria Chiara Bruno, Maria Chiara Cristiano, Christian Celia, Nicola D'Avanzo, Antonia Mancuso, Donatella Paolino, Joy Wolfram, Massimo Fresta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Joint diseases are one of the most common causes of morbidity and disability worldwide. The main diseases that affect joint cartilage are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, which require chronic treatment focused on symptomatic relief. Conventional drugs administered through systemic or intra-articular routes have low accumulation and/or retention in articular cartilage, causing dose-limiting toxicities and reduced efficacy. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop improved strategies for drug delivery, in particular, the use of micro- and nanotechnology-based methods. Encapsulation of therapeutic agents in delivery systems reduces drug efflux from the joint and protects against rapid cellular and enzymatic clearance following intra-articular injection. Consequently, the use of drug delivery systems decreases side effects and increases therapeutic efficacy due to enhanced drug retention in the intra-articular space. Additionally, the frequency of intra-articular administration is reduced, as delivery systems enable sustained drug release. This review summarizes various advanced drug delivery systems, such as nano- and microcarriers, developed for articular cartilage diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19665-19690
Number of pages26
JournalACS Nano
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 27 2022


  • cartilage degeneration
  • drug delivery systems
  • hydrogels
  • intra-articular administration
  • joint diseases
  • osteoarthritis
  • polymeric systems
  • vesicular systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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