Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that is characterized by inflammation of the joints, degradation of cartilage, and the remodeling of other joint tissues. Due to the absence of disease-modifying drugs for OA, current clinical treatment options are often only effective at slowing down disease progression and focus mainly on pain management. The field of tissue engineering has therefore been focusing on developing strategies that could be used not only to alleviate symptoms of OA but also to regenerate the damaged tissue. Hyaluronic acid (HA), an integral component of both the synovial fluid and articular cartilage, has gained widespread usage in developing hydrogels that deliver cells and biomolecules to the OA joint thanks to its biocompatibility and ability to support cell growth and the chondrogenic differentiation of encapsulated stem cells, providing binding sites for growth factors. Tissue-engineering strategies have further attempted to improve the role of HA as an OA therapeutic by developing diverse modified HA delivery platforms for enhanced joint retention and controlled drug release. This review summarizes recent advances in developing HA-based hydrogels for OA treatment and provides additional insights into how HA-based therapeutics could be further improved to maximize their potential as a viable treatment option for OA.
- regenerative medicine