Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Arthritis Research & Therapy and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Synovial explant inflammatory mediator production corresponds to rheumatoid arthritis imaging hallmarks: a cross-sectional study

Martin Andersen12, Mikael Boesen3, Karen Ellegaard1, Robin Christensen1, Kalle Söderström2, Niels Søe4, Pieter Spee2, Ulrik GW Mørch5, Søren Torp-Pedersen1, Else Marie Bartels1, Bente Danneskiold-Samsøe1, Nina Vendel6, Lars Karlsson2 and Henning Bliddal1*

Author Affiliations

1 The Parker Institute, Department of Rheumatology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Nordre Fasanvej 57, Copenhagen 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

2 Department of Translational Immunology, Biopharmaceutical Research Unit, Novo Nordisk, Novo Nordisk Park 1, 2760 Måløv, Denmark

3 Department of Radiology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Bispebjerg Bakke 23, Copenhagen 2400, København NV, Denmark

4 Department of Orthopedics, Section of Hand Surgery, Gentofte University Hospital, Gentofte Hospital, Niels Andersens Vej 65, 2900 Hellerup, Denmark

5 Biomarkers, Novo Nordisk, Vandtårnsvej 108, 2860 Søborg, Denmark

6 Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care and Operations, Gentofte University Hospital, Gentofte Hospital, Niels Andersens Vej 65, 2900 Hellerup, Denmark

For all author emails, please log on.

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R107  doi:10.1186/ar4557

Published: 5 May 2014

Abstract

Introduction

Despite the widespread use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Doppler ultrasound for the detection of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity, little is known regarding the association of imaging-detected activity and synovial pathology. The purpose of this study was to compare site-specific release of inflammatory mediators and evaluate the corresponding anatomical sites by examining colour Doppler ultrasound (CDUS) and MRI scans.

Methods

RA patients were evaluated on the basis of CDUS and 3-T MRI scans and subsequently underwent synovectomy using a needle arthroscopic procedure of the hand joints. The synovial tissue specimens were incubated for 72 hours, and spontaneous release of monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), interleukin 6 (IL-6), macrophage inflammatory protein 1β (MIP-1β) and IL-8 was measured by performing multiplex immunoassays. Bone marrow oedema (BME), synovitis and erosion scores were estimated on the basis of the rheumatoid arthritis magnetic resonance imaging score (RAMRIS). Mixed models were used for the statistical analyses. Parsimony was achieved by omitting covariates with P > 0.1 from the statistical model.

Results

Tissue samples from 58 synovial sites were obtained from 25 patients. MCP-1 was associated with CDUS activity (P = 0.009, approximate Spearman’s ρ = 0.41), RAMRIS BME score (P = 0.01, approximate Spearman’s ρ = 0.42) and RAMRIS erosion score (P = 0.03, approximate Spearman’s ρ = 0.31). IL-6 was associated with RAMRIS synovitis score (P = 0.04, approximate Spearman’s ρ = 0.50), BME score (P = 0.04, approximate Spearman’s ρ = 0.31) and RAMRIS erosion score (P = 0.03, approximate Spearman’s ρ = 0.35). MIP-1β was associated with CDUS activity (P = 0.02, approximate Spearman’s ρ = 0.38) and RAMRIS synovitis scores (P = 0.02, approximate Spearman’s ρ = 0.63). IL-8 associations with imaging outcome measures did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusions

The association between imaging activity and synovial inflammatory mediators underscores the high sensitivity of CDUS and MRI in the evaluation of RA disease activity. The associations found in our present study have different implications for synovial mediator releases and corresponding imaging signs. For example, MCP-1 and IL-6 were associated with both general inflammation and bone destruction, in contrast to MIP-1β, which was involved solely in general synovitis. The lack of association of IL-8 with synovitis was likely underestimated because of a large proportion of samples above assay detection limits among the patients with the highest synovitis scores.