Introduction: The presence of leukocytes in platelet concentrates is deemed to cause deleterious effects when injected intra articularly. The aim of this study is to analyse both local and systemic effects induced by leukocyte-rich Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) injections through a proteomic characterization of serial synovial fluid and blood samples obtained from subjects treated for knee OA. Secondary aim was to compare the effects on knee homeostasis and systemic response with those obtained with visco-supplementation.
Methods: Thirty-six OA patients treated either by autologous L-PRP or HA intra-articular knee injections, administered in series of three at one-week intervals, were analyzed. Just before the injection, 1 ml of synovial fluid was collected through the same needle way. In the same time, a peripheral blood sample was obtained and plasma separated. A further peripheral blood sample was collected at 2, 6, and 12 months. L-PRP, plasma and synovial fluid were tested by multiplex bead-based sandwich immunoassay by means of the Bio-Plex suspension array system (Bio-Rad Laboratories) for the presence of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-17 and IL-4, IL-10, IL-13) and growth factors (FGF-b, HGF, PDGF-AB/BB).
Results: In general, pro-inflammatory cytokine levels were similar at basal condition and after treatment whereas anti-inflammatory ones were nearly undetectable. L-PRP administration did not modulate significant changes of cytokine concentrations either in synovial fluid or plasma, whatever the time points analyzed. No different trend was observed between L-PRP and HA administration in terms of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, as well as growth factors.
Conclusions: In contrast with the evidence reported by \"in vitro\" studies, where a cellular pro-inflammatory response appears to be induced by the presence of leukocytes, these results suggest that the presence leukocyte-rich PRP doesn\'t induce a relevant in vivo up regulation of pro-inflammatory mediators.