John Garner

Thermogel PLGA-PEG-PLGA investigated for cartilage regeneration as part of arthritis treatment

Blog Post created by John Garner on Feb 15, 2016

PolySciTech division of Akina, Inc. ( provides a wide array of biodegradable block copolymers including thermogelling PLGA-PEG-PLGA. This type of polymer transitions from a liquid solution to a solid gel when it is heated from room temperature to body temperature. The benefit of this is it allows for an injected solution to form into a gel once it is introduced into the human body. This is useful for treatment of diseases such as arthritis which may require local delivery to the damaged site. In 2005, an estimated 1.5 million (0.6%) of US adults age ≥ 18 had rheumatoid arthritis which is a disease that attacks cartilage in joints leading to pain and immobility. Recently, researchers published the incorporation of kartogenin in PLGA-PEG-PLGA thermogel and its use in cartilidge repair. Kartogenin induces chondrogenesis by binding the actin-binding protein, filamin A. This disrupts its interaction with the transcription factor core-binding factor β subunit (CBFβ). When dissociated from filamin A, CBFβ translocates to the nucleus and forms a transcriptional complex with RUNX1 thus enabling chondrocyte differentiation. This drug was found to be effectively delivered by the PLGA-PEG-PLGA thermogel locally into the cartilage and this lead to a regerative repair of the cartilage tissue. Read more: Li, Xuezhou, Jianxun Ding, Zheng-Zheng Zhang, Modi Yang, Jia-Kuo Yu, J. C. Wang, Fei Chang, and Xuesi Chen. "Kartogenin-Incorporated Thermogel Supports Stem Cells for Significant Cartilage Regeneration." ACS applied materials & interfaces (2016).


“Abstract: Recently, cartilage tissue engineering (CTE) attracts increasing attention in cartilage defect repair. In this work, kartogenin (KGN), an emerging chondroinductive non-protein small molecule, was incorporated into a thermogel of poly(L-lactide-co-glycolide)−poly(ethylene glycol)−poly(L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA−PEG−PLGA) to fabricate an appropriate microenvironment of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) for effective cartilage regeneration. More integrative and smoother repaired articular surface, more abundant characteristic glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and collagen II (COL II), and less degeneration of normal cartilage were obtained in the KGN and BMSCs co-loaded thermogel group in vivo. In conclusion, the KGN-loaded PLGA−PEG−PLGA thermogel can be utilized as an alternative support for BMSCs to regenerate the damaged cartilage in vivo.”