Medicine News

Icariin can promote repair of articular cartilage defects in vivo

In this study, Chinese researchers developed icariin-conditioned serum (ICS) and determined its ability — when combined with hyaluronic acid (HA) — to repair a critical-sized osteochondral defect in rabbit knees. Their results were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  • Osteochondral defects are mostly caused by trauma or articular degeneration.
  • Because of articular cartilage’s poor regenerative ability, osteochondral defects are tricky to deal with.
  • Modern treatment strategies mainly focus on cartilage tissue engineering using bioactive materials.
  • Icariin is a flavonoid glycoside found in herbs that belong to the genus Epimedium.
  • The researchers prepared ICS with different concentrations of icariin and used it to incubate primary chondrocytes. They measured cell proliferation rates and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) secretion.
  • The researchers then gave rabbits intra-articular injections of either 0.5 mL normal saline (NS), ICS, HA and ICS + HA in their right knee joints.
  • They used International Cartilage Repair Society (ICRS) scores to assess macroscopic cartilage regeneration, and histological and immunohistochemical analyses to assess cartilage repair and chondrocyte regeneration.
  • The researchers reported that low-dose icariin (0.94 g/kg) significantly promoted chondrocyte proliferation and enhance GAG secretion.
  • ICS + HA treatment caused the femoral condyles of rabbits to be integrated with native cartilage.
  • It also caused more subchondral bone regeneration, promoted repair of cartilage defects and increased neoformation of cartilage.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that ICS combined with HA helps repair cartilage defects and thus can be used in bioactive material-based cartilage regeneration therapies.

Read the full study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Zhang J, Zhang D, Wu C, Liu A, Zhang C, Jiao J, Shang M. ICARIIN-CONDITIONED SERUM ENGINEERED WITH HYALURONIC ACID PROMOTE REPAIR OF ARTICULAR CARTILAGE DEFECTS IN RABBIT KNEES. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 03 July 2019;19(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-019-2570-0

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