A novel therapeutic strategy for cartilage diseases based on lipid nanoparticle-RNAi delivery system

Shaowei Wang, Xiaochun Wei, Xiaojuan Sun, Chongwei Chen, Jingming Zhou, Ge Zhang, Heng Wu, Baosheng Guo, Lei Wei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cartilage degeneration affects millions of people but preventing its degeneration is a big challenge. Although RNA interference (RNAi) has been used in human trials via silencing specific genes, the cartilage RNAi has not been possible to date because the cartilage is an avascular and very dense tissue with very low permeability. Purpose: The objective of this study was to develop and validate a novel lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-siRNA delivery system that can prevent cartilage degeneration by knocking down specific genes. Methods: LNP transfection efficiency was evaluated in vitro and ex vivo. Indian Hedgehog (Ihh) has been correlated with cartilage degeneration. The in vivo effects of LNP-Ihh siRNA complexes on cartilage degeneration were evaluated in a rat model of surgery-induced osteoarthritis (OA). Results: In vitro, 100% of chondrocytes were transfected with siRNA in the LNP-siRNA group. In accordance with the cell culture results, red positive signals could be detected even in the deep layer of cartilage tissue cultures treated by LNP-beacon. In vivo data showed that LNP is specific for cartilage, since positive signals were detected by fluorescence molecular tomography and confocal microscopy in joint cartilage injected with LNP-beacon, but not on the surface of the synovium. In the rat model of OA, intraarticular injection of LNP-Ihh siRNA attenuated OA progression, and PCR results showed LNP-Ihh siRNA exerted a positive impact on anabolic metabolism and negative impact on catabolic metabolism. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that our LNP-RNAi delivery system has a significantly chondroprotective effect that attenuates cartilage degeneration and holds great promise as a powerful tool for treatment of cartilage diseases by knocking down specific genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-631
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cartilage diseases
  • Delivery system
  • Lipid nanoparticle
  • RNA interference


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