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Review

An emerging player in knee osteoarthritis: the infrapatellar fat pad

Andreea Ioan-Facsinay* and Margreet Kloppenburg

Author Affiliations

Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2333ZA, Leiden, The Netherlands

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:225  doi:10.1186/ar4422

Published: 24 December 2013

Abstract

The role of inflammation in the development, progression, and clinical features of osteoarthritis has become an area of intense research in recent years. This led to the recognition of synovitis as an important source of inflammation in the joint and indicated that synovitis is intimately associated with pain and osteoarthritis progression. In this review, we discuss another emerging source of inflammation that could play a role in disease development/progression: the infrapatellar fat pad (IFP). The aim of this review is to offer a comprehensive view of the pathology of IFP as obtained from magnetic resonance studies, along with its characterization at both the cellular and the molecular level. Furthermore, we discuss the possible function of this organ in the pathological processes in the knee by summarizing the knowledge regarding the interactions between IFP and other joint tissues and discussing the pro- versus anti-inflammatory functions this tissue could have. We hope that this review will offer an overview of all published data regarding the IFP and will indicate novel directions for future research.