The effects of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) on the metabolism of cultured human synovial fibroblasts derived from joints of four patients with rheumatoid arthritis and three with osteoarthritis have been investigated. The exposure of rheumatoid cell cultures to this oxygen derived species at sublethal concentrations (1-100 mumol/l) induced a dose related inhibition of both hyaluronic acid (HA) and DNA synthesis. In contrast, in osteoarthritic cell lines a biphasic response was shown. At low concentrations of H2O2 (less than 10 mumol/l) a stimulatory effect on HA synthesis was noted, whereas in the presence of higher concentrations (greater than 10 mumol/l) a significant inhibition of synthesis occurred. These deleterious effects of H2O2 were partially reduced by the addition of catalase to the culture media. The finding that both HA and DNA synthesis were inhibited at concentrations of H2O2 less than those which caused loss of cell integrity (greater than 200 mumol/l) suggests oxidation of intracellular components, such as glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, and subsequent depletion of ATP concentrations.
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