Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is of foremost concern among long-term autoimmune disorders, as it leads to inflammation, exudates, chondral degeneration, and painful joints. Because RA severity often fluctuates over time, a local drug delivery method that titrates release of therapeutics to arthritis bioactivity should represent a promising paradigm of RA therapy. Given the local nature of RA chronic illnesses, polysaccharide-drug delivering systems have the promise to augment therapeutic outcomes by offering controlled release of bioactive materials, diminishing the required frequency of administration, and preserving therapeutic levels in affected pathological regions. Herein, an intra-articular photothermal-laden injectable methylcellulose (MC) polymeric hydrogel carrier incorporating strontium ranelate (SrR) and sodium chloride was investigated to resolve these issues. Physicochemical and cellular characteristics of the MC carrier system were thoroughly evaluated. The slow release of SrR, enhancement of the material mechanical strength, and the potential of the non-invasive near-infrared photothermal gel to improve blood circulation and suppress inflammation in a mini-surgical model of RA were examined. Biocompatibility and suppression of intracellular ROS-induced inflammation were observed. This multifunctional photothermal MC hydrogel carrier is anticipated to be an alternative approach for future orthopedic disease treatment.
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