Association of systemic and intra-articular osteoclastogenic potential, pro-inflammatory mediators and disease activity with the form of inflammatory arthritis



We aimed to assess osteoclastogenic potential of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and synovial fluid-derived mononuclear cells (SFMC) in different forms of arthritis and to correlate it with inflammatory mediators within intra-articular and circulatory compartments.


Paired PBMC and SFMC samples of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA; n = 10) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA; n = 10), and PBMC of healthy controls were cultured to assess osteoclastogenic potential by the number of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive osteoclasts (OCs) and expression of OC-related genes (receptor activator of nuclear factor-κΒ (RANK), cFMS, and TRAP). Osteoclastogenesis was correlated with the arthritis-related inflammatory indicators in serum and synovial fluid (SF).


Number of OCs differentiated from PBMC was significantly higher in RA and PsA compared with control, with RA having more OCs compared with PsA. There was no difference in SFMC OC number between arthritic patients, but RANK expression in OCs differentiated from SFMC was higher in PsA compared with RA. SF of PsA patients more potently induced OC differentiation from control CD3-CD19-CD56-CD11b+CD115+ PBMC compared with RA, paralleled with higher RANK-ligand expression in PsA SFMC. Positive correlations of OC number with erythrocyte sedimentation rate, serum level of CCL2, and PBMC gene expression of interleukin-18 and Fas-ligand were observed.


Osteoclastogenic potential is systemically enhanced in patients with RA, paralleled by disordered systemic and local expression of proinflammatory mediators, whereas PsA involves specific deregulation in RANKL/RANK axis. Our study reveals arthritis-specific mediators associated with the form of arthritis, indicating clinical relevance for diagnosis and treatment.

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This work was supported by grants from the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (108-1080229-0140, 108-1080229-0142, and 108-1080229-0341).

We thank Prof. Vedran Katavic for critically revising the manuscript and Mrs. Katerina Zrinski-Petrovic for her technical assistance.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Danka Grčević.

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Ikić, M., Jajić, Z., Lazić, E. et al. Association of systemic and intra-articular osteoclastogenic potential, pro-inflammatory mediators and disease activity with the form of inflammatory arthritis. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) 38, 183–192 (2014).

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  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Osteoclasts
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Bone loss
  • Peripheral blood
  • Synovial fluid