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Cells of the synovium in rheumatoid arthritis. Chondrocytes

Miguel Otero and Mary B Goldring*

Author Affiliations

Research Division of the Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill College of Medicine of Cornell University, Caspary Research Building, 535 E. 70th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2007, 9:220  doi:10.1186/ar2292

Published: 26 October 2007


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the inflammatory joint diseases in a heterogeneous group of disorders that share features of destruction of the extracellular matrices of articular cartilage and bone. The underlying disturbance in immune regulation that is responsible for the localized joint pathology results in the release of inflammatory mediators in the synovial fluid and synovium that directly and indirectly influence cartilage homeostasis. Analysis of the breakdown products of the matrix components of joint cartilage in body fluids and quantitative imaging techniques have been used to assess the effects of the inflammatory joint disease on the local remodeling of joint structures. The role of the chondrocyte itself in cartilage destruction in the human rheumatoid joint has been difficult to address but has been inferred from studies in vitro and in animal models. This review covers current knowledge about the specific cellular and biochemical mechanisms that account for the disruption of the integrity of the cartilage matrix in RA.