Elevated Nerve Growth Factor Levels in the Synovial Fluid of Patients with Inflammatory Joint Disease
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A novel pH shock extraction procedure was used to measure nerve growth factor (NGF) levels in both normal and inflamed synovial fluids using a sensitive and specific two-site enzyme linked immunosorbant assay. To date no data is available on NGF levels in normal synovial fluids. Synovial fluids were taken from 5 normal volunteers, 12 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 10 patients with other inflammatory arthropathies. The mean ± SEM NGF concentration in normal synovial fluids was 95 ± 33.2 pg/ml (range 39.1–143.1 pg/ml), whereas the mean NGF concentration in the synovial fluids taken from patients with rheumatoid arthritis was 532.5 ± 123.8 pg/ml (range 152–1686 pg/ml). The mean NGF concentration in patients with other inflammatory arthropathies was also raised (430.6 ± 90 pg/ml; range 89–1071 pg/ml). The NGF concentrations were significantly higher in the synovial fluids from both inflamed groups (ANOVA p < 0.05) compared to normals. Raised levels of NGF in synovial fluid may contribute directly to joint inflammation via activation of inflammatory cells.
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