Inflammatory arthritic diseases are characterized by a persistent inflammation of the synovial tissues where tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) pro-inflammatory cytokines are over-expressed, leading to progressive musculoskeletal disability. Methotrexate (MTX), a disease-modifying-anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) commonly applied in their treatment, can be used in combination with biological-DMARDs as anti-TNFα antibody to improve the treatments efficacy. However, their systemic administration comes with severe side-effects and limited therapeutic efficacy due to their off-target distribution and short half-life. To overcome such limitations, encapsulation of clinically relevant concentrations of MTX and anti-TNFα antibody into polycaprolactone (PCL) or poly(vinyl-alcohol) (PVA) microfluidic-assisted or coaxial electrospun fibrous meshes is proposed as local controlled dual drug release systems. Release studies show that microfluidic-assisted electrospinning meshes encapsulating both drugs achieved higher concentrations than coaxials. Biological assays using human articular chondrocytes (hACs) and monocytic cells (THP-1 cell line) demonstrate that fibrous meshes encapsulating the drugs are non-toxic. The systems’ efficacy is proved by a significant decrease of TNFα and IL-6 concentrations in conditioned medium of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated THP-1 cells, especially in the presence of microfluidic-assisted electrospun meshes, when compared with THP-1 conditioned medium (59.5% and 83.9% less, respectively). Therefore, microfluidic-assisted electrospinning fibrous meshes with encapsulating drugs represent an alternative to coaxial, as a local therapy for inflammatory arthritis diseases.
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