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Fibroblast biology: Signals targeting the synovial fibroblast in arthritis

Yrjö T Konttinen123, Tian-Fang Li13, Mika Hukkanen1, Jian Ma12, Jing-Wen Xu13 and Ismo Virtanen1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Biomedicine, Helsinki, Finland

2 Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Finland

3 Surgical Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

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Arthritis Res 2000, 2:348-355  doi:10.1186/ar111

Published: 8 June 2000


Fibroblast-like cells in the synovial lining (type B lining cells), stroma and pannus tissue are targeted by many signals, such as the following: ligands binding to cell surface receptors; lipid soluble, small molecular weight mediators (eg nitric oxide [NO], prostaglandins, carbon monoxide); extracellular matrix (ECM)-cell interactions; and direct cell-cell contacts, including gap junctional intercellular communication. Joints are subjected to cyclic mechanical loading and shear forces. Adherence and mechanical forces affect fibroblasts via the ECM (including the hyaluronan fluid phase matrix) and the pericellular matrix (eg extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer [EMMPRIN]) matrices, thus modulating fibroblast migration, adherence, proliferation, programmed cell death (including anoikis), synthesis or degradation of ECM, and production of various cytokines and other mediators [1]. Aggressive, transformed or transfected mesenchymal cells containing proto-oncogenes can act in the absence of lymphocytes, but whether these cells represent regressed fibroblasts, chondrocytes or bone marrow stem cells is unclear.

fibroblast; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial membrane