, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 90-97

Basement membrane proteins in synovial membrane: Distribution in rheumatoid arthritis and synthesis by fibroblast-like cells

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease of unknown origin. In consequence of some immunological reactions, proliferative invading synovial tissue leads to destruction of normal joint architecture. The aim of this study was to investigate qualitative changes in extracellular matrix distribution of proliferating rheumatoid synovium and their cellular origin. Synovial tissues from 57 clinically indicated arthrotomies were investigated with immunofluorescence, using specific antibodies against extracellular matrix proteins in tissue slides and cultured cells, which were also studied for collagen biosynthesis. Results indicated that synovial fibroblast-like cells synthesize and secrete basement membrane proteins laminin and collagen type IV as e.g. endothelial cells or organogenic fibroblasts. Laminin and collagen type IV were specifically demonstrated pericellularly in the hyperplastic lining layer of active rheumatoid synovitis. These findings are discussed with respect to the possible implication of altered cell-matrix interactions in rheumatoid synovial proliferation.