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Commentary

The stressed synovium

Georg Schett1*, Makiyeh Tohidast-Akrad2, Günter Steiner12 and Josef Smolen12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine III, University of Vienna, Austria

2 Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rheumatology and Balneology, Vienna, Austria

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Arthritis Res 2001, 3:80-86  doi:10.1186/ar144

Published: 9 January 2001

Abstract

This review focuses on the mechanisms of stress response in the synovial tissue of rheumatoid arthritis. The major stress factors, such as heat stress, shear stress, proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress, are discussed and reviewed, focusing on their potential to induce a stress response in the synovial tissue. Several pathways of stress signalling molecules are found to be activated in the synovial membrane of rheumatoid arthritis; of these the most important examples are heat shock proteins, mitogen-activated protein kinases, stress-activated protein kinases and molecules involved in the oxidative stress pathways. The expression of these pathways in vitro and in vivo as well as the consequences of stress signalling in the rheumatoid synovium are discussed. Stress signalling is part of a cellular response to potentially harmful stimuli and thus is essentially involved in the process of synovitis. Stress signalling pathways are therefore new and promising targets of future anti-rheumatic therapies.

Keywords:
heat shock proteins; rheumatoid arthritis; stress; stress-activated protein kinases