Platelet-Rich Plasma Released From Polyethylene Glycol Hydrogels Exerts Beneficial Effects on Human Chondrocytes

Era Jain, Nobuaki Chinzei, Alexandra Blanco, Natasha Case, Linda J. Sandell, Scott Sell, Muhammad Farooq Rai, Silviya P. Zustiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating joint disease resulting from chronic joint inflammation and erosion of articular cartilage. A promising biological treatment for OA is intra-articular administration of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). However, immediate bolus release of growth factors limits beneficial therapeutic effects of PRP, thus necessitating the demand for sustained release platforms. In this study, we evaluated the therapeutic value of PRP released from a polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogel on articular chondrocytes/cartilage explants derived from OA patients. Lyophilized PRP (PRGF) was encapsulated in PEG hydrogels at 10% w/v and hydrogel swelling, storage modulus and degradation and PRGF release kinetics were determined. PRGF releasate from the hydrogels was collected on day 1, 4, and 11. Encapsulation of PRGF at 10% w/v in PEG hydrogels had minimal effect on hydrogel properties. PRGF was released with an initial burst followed by sustained release until complete hydrogel degradation. Effect of PRGF releasates and bolus PRGF (1% w/v PRGF) on patient-derived cartilage explants or chondrocytes was assessed by chondrocyte proliferation (pico-green assay), gene expression for COL1A1, COL2A1, MMP13, COX2, and NFKB1 (real-time polymerase chain reaction), and measurement of nitric oxide concentration (Griess’ assay). Compared to bolus PRGF, PRGF releasates enhanced chondrocyte proliferation, suppressed the expression of genes like MMP13, NFKB1, COL1A1, and COL2A1 and reduced levels of nitric oxide. Taken together, these results indicate that release of PRGF from PEG hydrogels may improve the therapeutic efficacy of PRP and merits further investigation in an animal model of OA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2401-2410
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cell proliferation
  • gene expression
  • growth factors
  • osteoarthritis
  • platelet-rich plasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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