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Destruction of joint structures in arthritis may result from failure of normal mechanisms controlling interactions among cells of the various tissues of the joint. Normal synovium in culture produces less prostaglandin E (PGE) and collagenase than rheumatoid. When rheumatoid synovium is dissociated into cells, the adherent cell cultures rapidly lose the ability to synthesize large amounts of PGE and collagenase and become indistinguishable from normal synovial cells. A mononuclear cell factor (MCF) derived from supernatant media of cultured human blood mononuclear cells and a 'synovial factor(s)' (SF) from cultures of either normal or rheumatoid synovial fragments both stimulate production of PGE and proteinase by cells derived from human synovium, cartilage and bone. The activities of factors which may be present in these stimulatory supernatants may be unmasked in vitro when they are removed from the normal control present in vivo. Normal synovium probably contains cells which, with the appropriate stimulus, may be recruited to participate in joint tissue degradation. Normal connective tissue turnover may also be controlled by a neutral metallo-proteinase inhibitor (TIMP), which is produced in considerable amounts by normal synovium, but which cannot be detected in cultures of rheumatoid synovium. While corticosteroids inhibit the production and action of MCF and SF, they stimulate production of TIMP by normal or rheumatoid synovial tissue in vitro and may contribute to the endogenous control mechanisms. PGE may also have a modulatory role in these cellular interactions.

Original publication




Journal article


Int j immunopharmacol

Publication Date





91 - 102


Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Blood Proteins, Cell Communication, Cells, Cultured, Endopeptidases, Humans, Joints, Metalloendopeptidases, Microbial Collagenase, Monocytes, Prostaglandins, Prostaglandins E, Protease Inhibitors, Synovial Membrane