Plasma and synovial fluid concentration of doxycycline following low-dose, low-frequency administration, and resultant inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase-13 from interleukin-stimulated equine synoviocytes

M. C. Maher, L. V. Schnabel, J. A. Cross, M. G. Papich, T. J. Divers and L. A. Fortier
March 2014
Equine Veterinary Journal

Reasons for study

To determine whether low-dose, low-frequency doxycycline administration is capable of achieving chondroprotective concentrations within synovial fluid (SF) while remaining below minimum inhibitory concentration 90 (MIC90) of most equine pathogens and would be an option in the management of osteoarthritis.

To determine whether low-dose, low-frequency oral administration of doxycycline can attain in vivo SF concentrations capable of chondroprotective effects through reduction of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-13 activity, while remaining below MIC90 of most equine pathogens.
Study design

Descriptive pharmacokinetic study with crossover design.

Two groups of 6 horses received oral doxycycline. Plasma and SF doxycycline concentrations were measured using high performance liquid chromatography. Group 1 received 5 mg/kg bwt q. 24 h with 21 blood and 8 SF samples collected over 120 h; Group 2 received 5 mg/kg bwt q. 48 h with 27 blood and 11 SF samples collected over 192 h. Cultured synoviocytes were treated with interleukin-1α (1 ng/ml) for 24 h to stimulate MMP synthesis, and then SF was added to the culture medium for 96 h. MMP-13 protein and mRNA were measured in synoviocyte culture medium and synoviocytes, respectively.

Mean doxycycline concentration ≥0.043 μg/ml (previously demonstrated to inhibit MMP-13) was achieved in plasma by t = 0.25 h and SF by t = 48 h in Group 1, and in plasma by t = 0.17 h and SF by t = 1 h in Group 2. Synoviocyte culture medium containing doxycycline from Groups 1 and 2 had significantly decreased active MMP-13 protein concentration, and synoviocytes cultured in this medium had significantly decreased MMP-13 gene expression compared to controls. Plasma doxycycline concentration in both groups and SF doxycycline concentration in Group 2 demonstrated a cumulative effect.

Low-dose orally administered doxycycline achieves SF concentrations in vivo capable of diminishing MMP-13 expression. This study supports the use of doxycycline as a disease modifying osteoarthritic drug.