Perspective on Intra-articular Injection Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Treatment



Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common arthritis, is one of the most frequently encountered orthopaedic conditions. As a small number of large joints such as knee and hip are affected in OA, OA is an ideal target for local therapy. Although corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid have been traditionally used for joints through intra-articular (IA) injection, IA injection also provides a minimally invasive route to apply cell therapy to treat OA. IA cell therapy has drawn attention because it may provide regeneration of articular cartilage in addition to palliative anti-inflammatory effects.


Current progress of IA injection therapy and the author’s perspective on this issue are described narratively.


It is too premature to have any conclusion on the eventual efficacy of IA cell therapy concerning regeneration of articular cartilage based on current data. Prospective radiological and histological data from larger numbers of patients are needed to prove cost effectiveness of IA cell therapy.


Expanding research in this field will produce further evidences to provide guidance on the eventual effectiveness of IA cell therapy in the future.

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Fig. 1

Reproduced with permission from Kang et al. [10]

Fig. 2

Reproduced with permission from Ko et al. [21]

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Fig. 4

Reproduced with permission from Ko et al. [32]


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This study was supported by a research Grant (2017M3A9B4064777) from the National Research Foundation of Korea.

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Correspondence to Gun-Il Im.

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Im, G. Perspective on Intra-articular Injection Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Treatment. Tissue Eng Regen Med 16, 357–363 (2019).

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  • Cell therapy
  • Intra-articular injection
  • Cartilage regeneration
  • Osteoarthritis treatment