Open Access Open Badges Research article

Osteogenic protein 1 in synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis: relationship with disease and levels of hyaluronan and antigenic keratan sulfate

Susan Chubinskaya12*, Benjamin S Frank2, Margaret Michalska2, Bhavna Kumar1, Charis A Merrihew1, Eugene J-MA Thonar12, Mary Ellen Lenz1, Lori Otten1, David C Rueger3 and Joel A Block12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA

2 Section of Rheumatology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA

3 Stryker Biotech, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:R73  doi:10.1186/ar1947

Published: 28 April 2006


The measurement of body fluid levels of biochemical markers in joint tissues has begun to provide clinically useful information. Synovial fluid (SF) plays an important role in articular joint lubrication, nutrition, and metabolism of cartilage and other connective tissues within the joint. The purpose of our study was to identify and characterize osteogenic protein 1 (OP-1) in SF from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or with osteoarthritis (OA) and to correlate levels of OP-1 with those of hyaluronan (HA) and antigenic keratan sulfate (AgKS). SF was aspirated from the knees of patients with either RA or OA and from the knees of asymptomatic organ donors with no documented history of joint disease. The presence of detectable OP-1 in SF was demonstrated by western blots with specific anti-pro-OP-1 and anti-mature OP-1 antibodies. Measurement of levels of OP-1, HA and AgKS was performed using ELISAs. OP-1 was identified in human SF in two forms, pro-OP-1 and active (mature) OP-1 – mature OP-1 being detected only in SF from OA patients and RA patients. Levels of OP-1 and HA were higher in RA patients than in OA patients and asymptomatic donors, while the level of AgKS was highest in SF from asymptomatic donors. Statistically significant differences were found between SF levels of OP-1 in RA and OA patients and between SF levels of AgKS among the three groups tested. The SF content of OP-1 tended to correlate positively with HA levels, but negatively with AgKS concentrations. In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that measurement of OP-1 in joint fluid may have value in the clinical evaluation of joint disease processes.