Injectable hydrogels for treatment of osteoarthritis – A rheological study

Benjamin von Lospichl, Shabnam Hemmati-Sadeghi*, Pradip Dey, Tilo Dehne, Rainer Haag, Michael Sittinger, Jochen Ringe, Michael Gradzielski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disabling condition especially in the elderly population. The current therapeutic approaches do not halt the OA progression or reverse joint damage. In order to overcome the problem of rapid clearance of hyaluronic acid (HA), a standard viscosupplement for OA, we investigated the rheological properties of a relatively non-degradable dendritic polyglycerol sulfate (dPGS) hydrogel to determine a suitable concentration for intra articular injections that mimics HA in terms of its viscoelastic and mechanical properties. To do so, the concentration range from 3.6 to 4.8 wt% of dPGS and, as a reference, blends of commercially available HAs (Ostenil®, GO-ON®, Synocrom® Forte and Synvisc®), were investigated by means of oscillating and flow rheology, thereby yielding storage (G’) and loss modulus (G”), as well as yield stress and shear viscosity. In our rheological experiments we observe a pronounced coupling of the molecular weight and the rheological properties for the HAs. Furthermore, we find the dPGS hydrogel to form more compact networks with increasing concentration. From a broader comparison the current findings suggest that an overall polymer concentration of 4.0 wt% dPGS has viscoelastic properties that are comparable to hyaluronic acid in the medically relevant frequency range, where for medical application the dPGS hydrogel has the advantage of being much less easily displaced from its injection place than HA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-483
Number of pages7
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Dendritic polyglycerol sulfate
  • Frequency sweep
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Hydrogel
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Shear stress
  • Shear viscosity


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