Increased chondrocyte death after steroid and local anesthetic combination

Boglárka Farkas, Krisztián Kvell, Tamás Czömpöly, Tamás Illés, Tamás Bárdos

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Background: Hyaline articular cartilage has limited repair and regeneration capacity. Intraarticular administration of glucocorticoid and local anesthetic injections play an important role in the therapy of osteoarthritis. Glucocorticoids and anesthetics reportedly enhance apoptosis in chondrocytes, but effects of the combined use of glucocorticoids and local anesthetics are unknown. Questions/purposes: We asked whether glucocorticoid and local anesthetic agents combined had any synergistic effects on chondrocyte apoptosis. Methods: Cell viability and apoptosis/necrosis assessment of human articular chondrocytes were performed in vitro (chondrocyte cell cultures) and ex vivo (osteochondral specimens) using flow cytometry and TUNEL analysis, respectively. Results: Glucocorticoids and local anesthetics induce apoptosis in chondrocytes at various rates. When used in combination, the percentage of dead chondrocytes was increased in in vitro chondrocyte cell cultures and osteochondral ex vivo specimens. Conclusions: We observed a time-dependent decrease in chondrocyte viability after concurrent steroid and local anesthetic exposure. Clinical Relevance: The combination of glucocorticoids and local anesthetics has an adverse effect on articular chondrocytes, and it raises a question regarding whether concomitant administration should be used in treating osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3112-3120
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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