Articular cartilage damage often results from trauma, sports injury, or aging. It usually progresses to osteoarthritis, a more severe form of articular disease in which the ability to repair is limited, and lesions culminate in cartilage degeneration.
To achieve better quality healing of tissue in cartilage repair, autologous (own blood) biologic therapies have been employed. These therapies have gained increasing popularity over the last decade because they are considered to be safe, easy to obtain, and not subjected to extensive testing that is normally required prior to drug use approval. Because it is not considered doping and has the appeal of an innocuous, autologous therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) remains a current option in equine orthopedics.
A recent study that looked at the Short- and long-term effects of platelet-rich plasma in joints found that PRP is a safe therapeutic option for joint administration, with no long-term adverse effects to joint homeostasis, despite an early inflammatory response to its intra-articular injection.
It went on to say that In tendons and ligaments, several experimental and clinical studies have demonstrated a positive effect on the quality of healing tissues associated with PRP treatments. As a therapeutic option for joint problems, PRP (among other hemoderivatives) has recently received much attention and is advocated as a therapeutic tool to enhance healing through newly formed higher quality tissue that withstands athletic demands over shorter time periods.
To add information to this topic, PRP was obtained by an easy and repeatable technique, and the effects of this hemoderivate on joints were observed. The PRP, prepared concentrates platelets in sufficient amounts to elicit a therapeutic response and it was found that no clinical signs of inflammation associated with intra-articular PRP injection.
Interestingly, all indicators of joint inflammation that were observed in response to PRP 24 to 48 h after injection were absent when the effects of weekly injections performed over a 28-d period were observed. Furthermore, unchanged concentrations of the cartilage’s turnover biomarkers strongly suggested that degradation was not occurring and that joint homeostasis was not compromised!
These results indicate that the early inflammatory response associated with intra-articular PRP injection is self-limiting, does not adversely affect the joint and has no cumulative effects when repeated weekly injections are administered.