The purpose of this study is to determine if extended-release triamcinolone acetonide treatment alters the progressive changes in bone shape previously demonstrate after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction with partial meniscectomy or meniscal repair.



Eligible Ages
Between 18 Years and 40 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion Criteria

  1. Written consent to participate in the study
  2. Male or female greater than or equal to 18 years of age and less than 40 years of age
  3. Has undergone arthroscopic ACL reconstruction with partial meniscectomy or meniscal repair in the past 4 weeks
  4. Ambulatory and in good general health
  5. Willing and able to comply with the study procedures and visit schedules and able to follow verbal and written instructions.
  6. Willing to abstain from use of protocol-restricted medications during the study
  7. Females and males who have reproductive potential: Must use highly effective contraception for at least 1 month prior to screening and agreement to use such a method during study participation (10 weeks; 4 to 14 weeks after surgery)
  8. Demonstrate persistent inflammation defined as synovial fluid IL-6 concentration > 317 pg/mL four weeks following surgery

Exclusion Criteria

  1. Known allergic reactions to components of the extended-release triamcinolone acetonide (Zilretta®)
  2. Reactive arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease
  3. History of infection in either knee joint
  4. Clinical signs and symptoms of active knee infection or crystal disease in either knee within 1 month of Screening
  5. Other surgery or arthroscopy of either knee within 6 months of Screening
  6. Intraarticular treatment of any joint with any of the following agents within six (6) months of Screening: any corticosteroid preparation or any biologic agent (e.g., platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection, stem cells, prolotherapy, amniotic fluid injection; investigational or marketed).
  7. Intraarticular treatment in either knee with hyaluronic acid (investigational or marketed) within 6 months of Screening
  8. Parenteral or oral corticosteroids (investigational or marketed) within 3 months of Screening
  9. Inhaled, intranasal or topical corticosteroids (investigational or marketed) within 2 weeks of Screening
  10. Females who are pregnant or nursing or plan to become pregnant during the study; men whose female partner plans to conceive during the study
  11. Radiographic osteoarthritic changes defined as Kellgren-Lawrence grade 2 or greater (as determined by PI from patient's preoperative X-rays)
  12. Inability to read and understand English

Study Design

Phase 2
Study Type
Intervention Model
Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description
After providing informed consent four weeks following ACL reconstruction with meniscal involvement, synovial fluid will be collected and assessed for the concentration of pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6). This will be done to identify patients that present with persistent inflammation after surgery that may be at increased risk of cartilage degradation. Patients with elevated IL-6, defined as concentrations > 317 pg/mL, will then be randomized to one of two groups. The threshold of 317 pg/mL was based on our pilot study of 19 patients and previously published results by Larsson et al. For those with elevated IL-6, eight weeks after surgery the knee will be aspirated and one group will receive a single 32 mg Zilretta injection and the other group will receive a 5 mL saline injection.
Primary Purpose
Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Masking Description
The knee will be aspirated and one group will receive a single 32 mg Zilretta injection and the other group will receive a 5 mL saline injection. The syringes will be blinded to ensure that both the investigator administering the injection and the patient will be blinded to the group assignment.

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
The experimental group will receive a single 32 mg Zilretta injection approximately 4 weeks after meniscus surgery.
  • Drug: Zilretta
    ZILRETTA is an injectable suspension that delivers 32 mg of triamcinolone acetonide. It is supplied as a single-dose kit containing one vial of ZILRETTA microsphere powder, one vial of 5 mL diluent, and one sterile vial adapter.
    Other names:
    • Extended release triamcinolone acetonide
Placebo Comparator
The placebo group will receive a single 5 mL injection of normal saline approximately 4 weeks after meniscus surgery.
  • Other: Placebo
    5 mL normal saline
    Other names:
    • Saline

Recruiting Locations

UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science and nearby locations

UK Healthcare at Turfland
Lexington, Kentucky 40504
Cale Jacobs, PhD

More Details

Austin V Stone

Study Contact

Cale Jacobs, PhD

Detailed Description

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury initiates a biochemical cascade that leads to cartilage degradation and the development of posttraumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). ACL and acute traumatic meniscus tears have been linked the development and progression of PTOA. As such, there is an unmet need to identify treatments that may alter the progression of PTOA following ACL meniscus injury. The overarching hypothesis of this project is that intraarticular administration of long-acting anti-inflammatory agents will alter the progression of PTOA following ACL reconstruction.

The current standard of care for patients with combined ACL and meniscus injuries consists of surgical treatment often with a short course of postoperative physical therapy. However, the current mechanically-based standard of care does not address the persistent inflammatory process that promotes cartilage degradation and PTOA progression. The pro-inflammatory stimulation of meniscus cells increases matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and cytokine activity, and the combination of pro-inflammatory cytokines and compressive loading like what may be seen during sporting and high demand activities further results in degradative enzyme activity and increased production of pro-inflammatory mediators. In this way, the meniscus plays an active role in promoting the cycle of articular cartilage degradation and PTOA progression after ACL reconstruction.

Reducing MMP and cytokine activity after ACL and meniscus injury may alter the progression of PTOA for this at-risk patient population. After ACL injury and reconstruction demonstrate triamcinolone acetonide effectively reduces cartilage degradation, the inflammatory cascade and corresponding cartilage degradation are reinitiated after surgery, hyaluronate treatment 1 week after surgery unsuccessfully mitigates the inflammatory and catabolic processes, and pain and persistent postsurgical cytokine activity at 4 weeks were predictive of inferior knee biomechanics 6 months after surgery. In addition, long-acting agents may provide a greater treatment effect as temporal regulation of cytokine activity may more successfully alter the pro-inflammatory environment than shorter-duration treatments. These results identify that long-acting anti-inflammatory treatment is needed to alter the path of PTOA following meniscus injury and administration 8 weeks after surgery may offer the optimal timing of treatment.

The model whereby femoral shape change and cytokine activity are mediated by a long-acting anti-inflammatory agent (extended-release triamcinolone acetonide) will be tested. Femoral shape changes have been demonstrated after ACL injury and reconstruction, with shape changes in the first 6 months after surgery correlating with subsequent MRI evidence of cartilage degradation and inferior patient-reported outcomes 3 years postoperatively. A Phase 2a, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized controlled trial will be performed. The trial will determine if a long-acting anti-inflammatory agent (extended-release triamcinolone acetonide) improves patient-reported outcomes and/or lessens progressive bone shape changes or cartilage breakdown when compared to placebo (saline). Saline was chosen as the placebo as saline has few potential risks and rare adverse events and is the most commonly used placebo treatment option used in knee osteoarthritis research.


Study information shown on this site is derived from (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.