Abstract

Trans-synovial solute transport plays a critical role in the clearance of intra-articularly delivered drugs. In this study, we present a computational finite element model of solute transport through the synovium validated by experiments on synovial explants. Unsteady diffusion of urea, a small uncharged molecule, was measured through devitalized porcine and human synovium using custom-built diffusion chambers. A multiphasic computational model was constructed and optimized with the experimental data to extract effective diffusivity for urea within the synovium. A monotonic decrease in urea concentration was observed in the donor bath over time, with an effective diffusivity found to be an order of magnitude lower in synovium versus that measured in free solution. Parametric studies incorporating an intimal cell layer with varying thickness and varying effective diffusivities were performed, revealing a dependence of drug clearance kinetics on both parameters. The findings of this study indicate that the synovial matrix impedes urea solute transport out of the joint with little retention of the solute in the matrix.

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