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Novel Hyaluronic Acid-methotrexate Conjugates For Osteoarthritis Treatment.

Akie Homma, H. Sato, A. Okamachi, Takashi Emura, T. Ishizawa, T. Kato, T. Matsuura, S. Sato, T. Tamura, Yoshinobu Higuchi, T. Watanabe, H. Kitamura, K. Asanuma, Tadao Yamazaki, Masahisa Ikemi, Hironoshin Kitagawa, T. Morikawa, Hitoshi Ikeya, K. Maeda, Koichi Takahashi, K. Nohmi, N. Izutani, M. Kanda, R. Suzuki
Published 2009 · Chemistry, Medicine

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Hyaluronic acid (HA) provides synovial fluid viscoelasticity and has a lubricating effect. Injections of HA preparations into the knee joint are widely used as osteoarthritis therapy. The current HA products reduce pain but do not fully control inflammation. Oral methotrexate (MTX) has anti-inflammatory efficacy but is associated with severe adverse events. Based on the rationale that a conjugation of HA and MTX would combine the efficacy of the two clinically evaluated agents and avoid the risks of MTX alone, we designed HA-MTX conjugates in which the MTX connects with the HA through peptides susceptible to cleavage by lysosomal enzymes. Intra-articular injection of our HA-MTX conjugate (conjugate 4) produced a significant reduction of the knee swelling in antigen-induced arthritis rat, whereas free MTX, HA or a mixture of HA and MTX showed no or marginal effects on the model. The efficacy of conjugate 4 was almost the same as that of MTX oral treatment. Conjugate 4 has potential as a compound for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
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