Background: Treatment with intravenous enzyme replacement therapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) type I does not address joint disease, resulting in persistent orthopedic complications and impaired quality of life. A proof-of-concept study was conducted to determine the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of intra-articular recombinant human iduronidase (IA-rhIDUA) enzyme replacement therapy in the canine MPS I model. Methods: Four MPS I dogs underwent monthly rhIDUA injections (0.58. mg/joint) into the right elbow and knee for 6. months. Contralateral elbows and knees concurrently received normal saline. No intravenous rhIDUA therapy was administered. Monthly blood counts, chemistries, anti-rhIDUA antibody titers, and synovial fluid cell counts were measured. Lysosomal storage of synoviocytes and chondrocytes, synovial macrophages and plasma cells were scored at baseline and 1. month following the final injection. Results: All injections were well-tolerated without adverse reactions. One animal required prednisone for spinal cord compression. There were no clinically significant abnormalities in blood counts or chemistries. Circulating anti-rhIDUA antibody titers gradually increased in all dogs except the prednisone-treated dog; plasma cells, which were absent in all baseline synovial specimens, were predominantly found in synovium of rhIDUA-treated joints at study-end. Lysosomal storage in synoviocytes and chondrocytes following 6. months of IA-rhIDUA demonstrated significant reduction compared to tissues at baseline, and saline-treated tissues at study-end. Mean joint synovial GAG levels in IA-rhIDUA joints were 8.62 ± 5.86 μg/mg dry weight and 21.6 ± 10.4 μg/mg dry weight in control joints (60% reduction). Cartilage heparan sulfate was also reduced in the IA-rhIDUA joints (113 ± 39.5. ng/g wet weight) compared to saline-treated joints (142 ± 56.4. ng/g wet weight). Synovial macrophage infiltration, which was present in all joints at baseline, was abolished in rhIDUA-treated joints only. Conclusions: Intra-articular rhIDUA is well-tolerated and safe in the canine MPS I animal model. Qualitative and quantitative assessments indicate that IA-rhIDUA successfully reduces tissue and cellular GAG storage in synovium and articular cartilage, including cartilage deep to the articular surface, and eliminates inflammatory macrophages from synovial tissue. Clinical relevance: The MPS I canine IA-rhIDUA results suggest that clinical studies should be performed to determine if IA-rhIDUA is a viable approach to ameliorating refractory orthopedic disease in human MPS I. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.