Therapeutic Manipulation of Macrophages Using Nanotechnological Approaches for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Aldo Ummarino, Francesco Manlio Gambaro, Elizaveta Kon, Fernando Torres Andón

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint pathology causing severe pain and disability. Macrophages play a central role in the pathogenesis of OA. In the joint microenvironment, macrophages with an M1-like pro-inflammatory phenotype induce chronic inflammation and joint destruction, and they have been correlated with the development and progression of the disease, while the M2-like anti-inflammatory macrophages support the recovery of the disease, promoting tissue repair and the resolution of inflammation. Nowadays, the treatment of OA in the clinic relies on systemic and/or intra-articular administration of anti-inflammatory and pain relief drugs, as well as surgical interventions for the severe cases (i.e., meniscectomy). The disadvantages of the pharmacological therapy are related to the chronic nature of the disease, requiring prolonged treatments, and to the particular location of the pathology in joint tissues, which are separated anatomical compartments with difficult access for the drugs. To overcome these challenges, nanotechnological approaches have been investigated to improve the delivery of drugs toward macrophages into the diseased joint. This strategy may offer advantages by reducing off-target toxicities and improving long-term therapeutic efficacy. In this review, we describe the nanomaterial-based approaches designed so far to directly or indirectly manipulate macrophages for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 9 2020


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