Efficient lubrication and extremely low friction are essential for proper functioning of synovial joints. Various joint dysfunctions were described in direct association with increased friction or adhesive forces. Surface-active phospholipids (SAPLs) are well known to reduce friction in synovial joints. This study demonstrates, using a novel human-sourced cartilage-on-cartilage setup, the potential of multilamellar vesicles (MLV) composed of the SAPL dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine (DMPC) to act as effective lubricants, reducing static and dynamic friction-coefficients to levels of healthy synovial joints. Furthermore, MLV composed of DMPC, in sizes ranging from 0.8 to ∼3.5 μm, were found to be more effective lubricants than histidine buffer, saline, or synovial fluid. The ability to test new cartilage lubricants, simulating, to a great extent, natural conditions, using the setup presented herein is discussed.

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