Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Arthritis Research & Therapy and BioMed Central.

This article is part of the supplement: Fourth International Synovitis Workshop

Open Badges Meeting abstract

Biologic Aspects of Nurse-Like Cells Found in Bone Marrow and Synovial Tissue of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Takahiro Ochi

  • Correspondence: Takahiro Ochi

Author Affiliations

Osaka University Medical School, Osaka, Japan

Arthritis Res 2000, 1(Suppl 1):S20-481  doi:10.1186/ar34

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:15 November 1999

© 2000 Current Science Ltd

Full text

Using collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) rats, we studied the origin of synovial stromal cells, which rapidly appeared and proliferated in joints at the onset of inflammatory polyarthritis, we partially labelled the bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) with fluorescent dye or 3H-Tdr,and analyzed the migration of labelled BMSC after the immunization with collagen. At the onset of CIA, BMSC migrated through small canals from the bone marrow into the affected joint cavities and seemed to contribute to synovial proliferation in joints [4].

Based on the data above, we were interested in establishing and characterizing the nurse cell-like stromal cells (NCs) in bone marrow (RA-BMNC) as well as those in synovial tissue of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients (RA-SNC). RA-BMNC showed the characteristic cell-cell contact with lymphocytes (pseudoempeliporesis), resulting in mutual biologic activation, such as maintaining infiltrating lymphocytes and producing large amount of cytokines. Those were very similar to the reactions of RA-SNC reported in our latest paper [2].

Another point of interest was whether NCs could invade the bone, resulting in erosive changes characteristically observed in RA patients. Although NCs (both RA-SNC and RA-BMNC) were shown to produce IL-6, IL-8, and other cytokines, these were not thought to contribute directly to bone erosion. By co-culturing NCs with lymphocytes, we found activation in the production of MMP-1 and MMP-3, and in the expression of mRNA of both MMP-9 and cathepsin-K. Thus, NCs could be thought to contribute directly to bone erosion in RA patients.


  1. Tomita T, Ochi T, et al.: Establishment of nurse-like stromal cells from bone marrow of patients with rheumatoid arthritis: indication of characteristic bone marrow microenvironment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

    Rheumatology 1999. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  2. Takeuchi E, Ochi T, et al.: Establishment and characterization of nurse cell-like stromal cell lines from synovial tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

    Arthritis Rheum 1999. PubMed Abstract OpenURL

  3. Wakisaka S, Ochi T, et al.: Possible correction of abnormal rheumatoid arthritis synovial cell function by jun D transfection in vivo.

    Arthritis Rheum 1998, 41:470-481. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  4. Nakagawa S, Ochi T, et al.: Bone marrow stromal cells contribute to synovial cell proliferation in rats with collagen Induced arthritis.

    J Rheumatol 1996, 23:2098-2103. PubMed Abstract OpenURL

  5. Hirohata S, Ochi T, et al.: Accelerated generation of CD14+monocyte-lineage cells from the bone marrow of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

    Arthritis Rheum 1996, 39:836-843. PubMed Abstract OpenURL

  6. Tomita T, Ochi T, et al.: Phenotypic characteristics of bone marrow cells in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

    J Rheumatol 1994, 21:1608-1614. PubMed Abstract OpenURL