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Localisation of vitronectin receptor immunoreactivity and tartrate resistant acid phosphatase activity in synovium from patients with inflammatory or degenerative arthritis.
  1. B A Ashton,
  2. I K Ashton,
  3. M J Marshall,
  4. R C Butler
  1. Department of Rheumatology, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry, United Kingdom.


    The influx of cells into the synovial intima in rheumatoid joints may include osteoclasts and their precursors. The distribution of osteoclast markers--namely, tartrate resistant acid phosphatase activity and the expression of vitronectin receptor (shown with monoclonal antibodies 13C2 and 23C6)--was therefore examined in synovium obtained from patients with rheumatoid (RA) or degenerative (OA) arthritis. Tartrate resistant acid phosphatase positive cells were found in frozen sections of 60% (n = 30) of RA and 69% (n = 29) of OA synovial membranes. Whereas all synovia tested (four RA, four OA) showed diffuse staining of the lining cells with 13C2, 55% (n = 11) of RA and 57% (n = 14) of OA synovial membranes contained isolated cells stained with 23C6 scattered throughout the tissue. In cultures of synovial cells, tartrate resistant acid phosphatase positive, multinuclear, and 23C6 positive cells were found; these cells did not, however, form resorption pits on bone slices. The results show that fully differentiated osteoclasts are uncommon in synovium from patients with either degenerative or inflammatory arthropathies.

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