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Open Access Research article

The role of synovial fluid markers of catabolism and anabolism in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asymptomatic organ donors

Rediet Kokebie1, Rohit Aggarwal2, Sukhwinderjit Lidder3, Arnavaz A Hakimiyan3, David C Rueger4, Joel A Block13 and Susan Chubinskaya135*

Author Affiliations

1 Section of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, 1653 West Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60612, USA

2 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, S700 Biomedical Science Tower, 3500 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

3 Department of Biochemistry, Rush University Medical Center, 1653 West Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL, 60612 USA

4 Stryker Biotech, 35 South Street, Hopkinton, MA 01748, USA

5 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, 1653 West Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60612, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:R50  doi:10.1186/ar3293

Published: 24 March 2011

Abstract

Introduction

The purpose of this study was to correlate the level of anabolic and catabolic biomarkers in synovial fluid (SF) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and asymptomatic organ donors.

Methods

SF was collected from the knees of 45 OA, 22 RA patients and 20 asymptomatic organ donors. Eight biomarkers were selected and analyzed by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay: interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-8 and IL-11; leukemia-inhibitory factor (LIF); cartilage oligomeric protein (COMP); osteocalcin; and osteogenic protein 1 (OP-1). Data are expressed as medians (interquartile ranges). The effects of sex and disease activity were assessed on the basis of the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities index score for patients with OA and on the basis of white blood cell count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein level for patients with RA.

Results

The mean ages (± SD) of the patients were as follows: 53 ± 9 years for patients with OA, 54 ± 11 years for patients with RA and 52 ± 7 years for asymptomatic organ donors. No effect of participants' sex was identified. In the SF of patients with RA, four of five cytokines were higher than those in the SF of patients with OA and those of asymptomatic organ donors. The most significant differences were found for IL-6 and IL-8, where IL-6 concentration in SF of patients with RA was almost threefold higher than that in patients with OA and fourfold higher than that in asymptomatic donor controls: 354.7 pg/ml (1,851.6) vs. 119.4 pg/ml (193.2) vs. 86.97 pg/ml (82.0) (P < 0.05 and P < 0.05, respectively). IL-8 concentrations were higher in SF of patients with RA than that in patients with OA as well as that in asymptomatic donor controls: 583.6 pg/ml (1,086.4) vs. 429 pg/ml (87.3) vs. 451 pg/ml (170.1) (P < 0.05 and P < 0.05, respectively). No differences were found for IL-11 in the SF of patients with RA and that of patients with OA, while a 1.4-fold difference was detected in the SF of patients with OA and that of asymptomatic donor controls: 296.2 pg/ml (257.2) vs. 211.6 pg/ml (40.8) (P < 0.05). IL-1 concentrations were the highest in the SF of RA patients (9.26 pg/ml (11.1)); in the SF of asymptomatic donors, it was significantly higher than that in patients with OA (9.083 pg/ml (1.6) vs. 7.76 pg/ml (2.6); P < 0.05). Conversely, asymptomatic donor control samples had the highest LIF concentrations: 228.5 pg/ml (131.6) vs. 128.4 pg/ml (222.7) in the SF of patients with RA vs. 107.5 pg/ml (136.9) in the SF of patients with OA (P < 0.05). OP-1 concentrations were twofold higher in the SF of patients with RA than those in patients with OA and threefold higher than those in asymptomatic donor control samples (167.1 ng/ml (194.8) vs. 81.79 ng/ml (116.0) vs. 54.49 ng/ml (29.3), respectively; P < 0.05). The differences in COMP and osteocalcin were indistinguishable between the groups, as were the differences between active and inactive OA and RA.

Conclusions

Activation of selected biomarkers corresponds to the mechanisms that drive each disease. IL-11, LIF and OP-1 may be viewed as a cluster of biomarkers significant for OA; while profiling of IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, LIF and OP-1 may be more significant in RA. Larger, better-defined patient cohorts are necessary to develop a biomarker algorithm for prognostic use.