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Electrophoretic characterization of species of fibronectin bearing sequences from the N-terminal heparin-binding domain in synovial fluid samples from patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

John H Peters12*, Steven Carsons3, Mika Yoshida4, Fred Ko4, Skye McDougall45, Grace A Loredo12 and Theodore J Hahn45

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Davis, CA, USA

2 Sacramento VA Medical Center, VA Northern California Health Care System, Mather, CA, USA

3 Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY, USA

4 Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CA, USA

5 University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Arthritis Res Ther 2003, 5:R329-R339  doi:10.1186/ar1001

Published: 8 September 2003


Fragments of fibronectin (FN) corresponding to the N-terminal heparin-binding domain have been observed to promote catabolic chondrocytic gene expression and chondrolysis. We therefore characterized FN species that include sequences from this domain in samples of arthritic synovial fluid using one-and two-dimensional (1D and 2D) Western blot analysis. We detected similar assortments of species, ranging from ~47 to greater than 200 kDa, in samples obtained from patients with osteoarthritis (n = 9) versus rheumatoid arthritis (n = 10). One of the predominant forms, with an apparent molecular weight of ~170 kDa, typically resolved in 2D electrophoresis into a cluster of subspecies. These exhibited reduced binding to gelatin in comparison with a more prevalent species of ~200+ kDa and were also recognized by a monoclonal antibody to the central cell-binding domain (CBD). When considered together with our previous analyses of synovial fluid FN species containing the alternatively spliced EIIIA segment, these observations indicate that the ~170-kDa species includes sequences from four FN domains that have previously, in isolation, been observed to promote catabolic responses by chondrocytes in vitro: the N-terminal heparin-binding domain, the gelatin-binding domain, the central CBD, and the EIIIA segment. The ~170-kDa N-terminal species of FN may therefore be both a participant in joint destructive processes and a biomarker with which to gauge activity of the arthritic process.

chondrocytes; fibronectin; osteoarthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fluid