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In rheumatoid arthritis (RA) invasive tenosynovitis is associated with an increase in tendon rupture, although little is known about the mechanisms involved. We obtained specimens of noninvasive encapsulating tenosynovium, invasive tenosynovium, and wrist joint synovium from 28 rheumatoid patients. In vitro production of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes, MMP-8 and -9, and total collagenase activity were measured. Invasive tenosynovium produced highest levels of the collagenase MMP-8 and displayed significantly greater ability to degrade collagen type I than encapsulating tenosynovium. Levels of the gelatinase enzyme MMP-9 were similar in all groups. These results show that invasive tenosynovium is more destructive than encapsulating tenosynovium at a molecular level, providing an explanation for the increased tendon rupture associated with invasive tenosynovitis in RA.

Original publication




Journal article


The Journal of hand surgery

Publication Date





1059 - 1064


Department of Musculoskeletal Surgery and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Imperial College School of Medicine, The Charing Cross Hospital Campus, London, UK.


Synovial Membrane, Wrist Joint, Tendons, Cells, Cultured, Humans, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Rupture, Collagen Type I, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Matrix Metalloproteinase 9, Matrix Metalloproteinase 8