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1.  Synovial fibroblasts spread rheumatoid arthritis to unaffected joints 
Nature medicine  2009;15(12):1414-1420.
Active rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by originating from few but affecting subsequently the majority of joints. Thus far, the pathways of the progression of the disease are largely unknown. As rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) are key players in joint destruction and migrate in vitro, the current study evaluated the potential of RASFs to spread the disease in vivo. To simulate the primary joint of origin, healthy human cartilage was co-implanted subcutaneously into SCID mice together with RASFs. At the contralateral flank, healthy cartilage was implanted without cells. RASFs showed an active movement to the naïve cartilage via the vasculature independent of the site of application of RASFs into the SCID mouse, leading to a strong destruction of the target cartilage. These findings support the hypothesis that the characteristic clinical phenomenon of destructive arthritis spreading between joints is mediated, at least in part, by the transmigration of activated RASFs.
doi:10.1038/nm.2050
PMCID: PMC3678354  PMID: 19898488
2.  Low-field magnetic resonance imaging study on carpal arthritis in systemic sclerosis - low-grade erosive arthritis of carpal bones is an unexpected and frequent disease manifestation 
Introduction
The aim of the present study was to assess the prevalence and characteristics of subclinical arthritis of carpal and metacarpophalangeal joints in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Methods
Low-field (0.2 T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed in consecutive patients with SSc attending our center between January 2010 and March 2011. Results were assessed in a standardized manner using the Rheumatoid Arthritis Magnetic Resonance Imaging Score (RAMRIS) and standardized assessments of all hand joints. Patients with arthritis due to overlap syndromes were excluded.
Results
Of 38 inpatients and eight outpatients who were screened for inclusion, 30 patients participated in the study and 26 patients could be evaluated. Erosions, bone marrow edema, synovitis, and joint effusions were found in 87%, 37%, 68%, and 58%, respectively, and 24% of patients had additional tenovaginitis. Arthritis affected only a low number of joints per analyzed hand. All bones and joints could be affected, but synovitis and bone marrow edema occurred predominantly in the proximal row of carpal bones, most frequently affecting the lunate bone. The extent of inflammatory changes measured with the RAMRIS correlated significantly with the functional status assessed with the validated German functional score questionnaire Funktionsfragebogen Hannover.
Conclusion
Low-grade arthritic changes on low-field MRI are frequent in patients with pure SSc. The features of arthritis in SSc differ from rheumatoid arthritis. The distribution, the MRI pattern and the predilection for the lunate bone raise the hypothesis that arthritis in SSc may be caused not only by immunological inflammation but also by ischemic mechanisms.
doi:10.1186/ar4128
PMCID: PMC3672762  PMID: 23289906
4.  Fibroblast activation protein is expressed by rheumatoid myofibroblast-like synoviocytes 
Fibroblast activation protein (FAP), as described so far, is a type II cell surface serine protease expressed by fibroblastic cells in areas of active tissue remodelling such as tumour stroma or healing wounds. We investigated the expression of FAP by fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) and compared the synovial expression pattern in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Synovial tissue from diseased joints of 20 patients, 10 patients with refractory RA and 10 patients with end-stage OA, was collected during routine surgery. As a result, FLSs from intensively inflamed synovial tissues of refractory RA expressed FAP at high density. Moreover, FAP expression was co-localised with matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1 and MMP-13) and CD44 splice variants v3 and v7/8 known to play a major role in the concert of extracellular matrix degradation. The pattern of signals appeared to constitute a characteristic feature of FLSs involved in rheumatoid arthritic joint-destructive processes. These FAP-expressing FLSs with a phenotype of smooth muscle actin-positive myofibroblasts were located in the lining layer of the synovium and differ distinctly from Thy-1-expressing and non-proliferating fibroblasts of the articular matrix. The intensity of FAP-specific staining in synovial tissue from patients with RA was found to be different when compared with end-stage OA. Because expression of FAP by RA FLSs has not been described before, the findings of this study highlight a novel element in cartilage and bone destruction of arthritic joints. Moreover, the specific expression pattern qualifies FAP as a therapeutic target for inhibiting the destructive potential of fibroblast-like synovial cells.
doi:10.1186/ar2080
PMCID: PMC1794515  PMID: 17105646
5.  Pseudoachondroplasia is caused through both intra- and extracellular pathogenic pathways 
Pseudoachondroplasia is a dominantly inherited chondrodysplasia associated with mutations in cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP). Investigations into the pathogenesis of pseudoachondroplasia are hampered by its rarity. We developed a cell culture model by expressing mutant COMP in bovine primary chondrocytes using a gutless adenoviral vector. We show that mutant COMP exerts its deleterious effects through both intra- and extracellular pathogenic pathways. Overexpression of mutant COMP led to a dose-dependent decrease in cellular viability. The secretion of mutant COMP was markedly delayed, presumably due to a prolonged association with chaperones in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The ECM lacked organized collagen fibers and showed amorphous aggregates formed by mutant COMP. Thus, pseudoachondroplasia appears to be an ER storage disease, most likely caused by improper folding of mutant COMP. The growth failure of affected patients may be explained by an increased cell death of growth-plate chondrocytes. Dominant interference of the mutant protein on collagen fiber assembly could contribute to the observed failure of the ECM of cartilage and tendons.
doi:10.1172/JCI14386
PMCID: PMC150414  PMID: 12189245

Results 1-5 (5)