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Interactions between tenocytes and monosodium urate monohydrate crystals: implications for tendon involvement in gout
  1. Ashika Chhana1,
  2. Karen E Callon1,
  3. Michael Dray2,
  4. Bregina Pool1,
  5. Dorit Naot1,
  6. Greg D Gamble1,
  7. Brendan Coleman3,
  8. Geraldine McCarthy4,
  9. Fiona M McQueen5,
  10. Jillian Cornish1,
  11. Nicola Dalbeth1
  1. 1Bone & Joint Research Group, Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2Department of Histology, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand
  3. 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Middlemore Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand
  4. 4Department of Rheumatology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  5. 5Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicola Dalbeth, Bone & Joint Research Group, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, 85 Park Rd, Grafton, Auckland 1023, New Zealand; n.dalbeth{at}


Objectives Advanced imaging studies have demonstrated that urate deposition in periarticular structures, such as tendons, is common in gout. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of monosodium urate monohydrate (MSU) crystals on tenocyte viability and function.

Methods The histological appearance of tendons in joints affected by advanced gout was examined using light microscopy. In vitro, colorimetric assays and flow cytometry were used to assess cell viability in primary rat and primary human tenocytes cultured with MSU crystals. Real-time PCR was used to determine changes in the relative mRNA expression levels of tendon-related genes, and Sirius red staining was used to measure changes in collagen deposition in primary rat tenocytes.

Results In joint samples from patients with gout, MSU crystals were identified within the tendon, adjacent to and invading into tendon, and at the enthesis. MSU crystals reduced tenocyte viability in a dose-dependent manner. MSU crystals decreased the mRNA expression of tendon collagens, matrix proteins and degradative enzymes and reduced collagen protein deposition by tenocytes.

Conclusions These data indicate that MSU crystals directly interact with tenocytes to reduce cell viability and function. These interactions may contribute to tendon damage in people with advanced gout.

  • Gout
  • Disease Activity
  • Tendinitis

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