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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Intra-articular injection of micronized dehydrated human amnion/chorion membrane attenuates osteoarthritis development

Nick J Willett12, Tanushree Thote23, Angela SP Lin12, Shamus Moran3, Yazdan Raji3, Sanjay Sridaran3, Hazel Y Stevens1 and Robert E Guldberg12*

Author Affiliations

1 George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 315 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0405, USA

2 Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology, 315 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0405, USA

3 Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 315 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0405, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R47  doi:10.1186/ar4476

Published: 6 February 2014



Micronized dehydrated human amnion/chorion membrane (μ-dHACM) is derived from donated human placentae and has anti-inflammatory, low immunogenic and anti-fibrotic properties. The objective of this study was to quantitatively assess the efficacy of μ-dHACM as a disease modifying intervention in a rat model of osteoarthritis (OA). It was hypothesized that intra-articular injection of μ-dHACM would attenuate OA progression.


Lewis rats underwent medial meniscal transection (MMT) surgery to induce OA. Twenty four hours post-surgery, μ-dHACM or saline was injected intra-articularly into the rat joint. Naïve rats also received μ-dHACM injections. Microstructural changes in the tibial articular cartilage were assessed using equilibrium partitioning of an ionic contrast agent (EPIC-μCT) at 21 days post-surgery. The joint was also evaluated histologically and synovial fluid was analyzed for inflammatory markers at 3 and 21 days post-surgery.


There was no measured baseline effect of μ-dHACM on cartilage in naïve animals. Histological staining of treated joints showed presence of μ-dHACM in the synovium along with local hypercellularity at 3 and 21 days post-surgery. In MMT animals, development of cartilage lesions at 21 days was prevented and number of partial erosions was significantly reduced by treatment with μ-dHACM. EPIC-μCT analysis quantitatively showed that μ-dHACM reduced proteoglycan loss in MMT animals.


μ-dHACM is rapidly sequestered in the synovial membrane following intra-articular injection and attenuates cartilage degradation in a rat OA model. These data suggest that intra-articular delivery of μ-dHACM may have a therapeutic effect on OA development.