Increased level of heme oxygenase-1 in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid

Ai Kitamura, Keiichiro Nishida, Takamitsu Komiyama, Hideyuki Doi, Yasutaka Kadota, Aki Yoshida, Toshifumi Ozaki

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22 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the expression and localization of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in synovial fluid and synovial tissue, and examined the stimulation of HO-1 production in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts (RASFs). Synovial fluid samples were obtained from knee joints of 20 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 20 osteoarthritis (OA) patients, and concentration of HO-1 and matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Synovial tissues obtained from RA or OA patients during total knee arthroplasty (TKA) were used for immunohistochemical analysis of HO-1. HO-1 production by RASFs in response to various cytokines was examined by ELISA. HO-1 levels in synovial fluid were higher in the RA group than in the OA group with significant difference (P<0.001), and correlated with serum C-reactive protein (CRP) level (r = 0.80, P<0.01) in the RA group. Higher levels of HO-1 were seen in the RA-L group (Larsen grade III-V) than in the RA-E (Larsen grade 0-II) group (P<0.001). There was weak correlation between the levels of HO-1 protein and MMP-3 in synovial fluid in the RA group (r = 0.31, P<0.01), while no positive correlation was observed in OA. Positive immunoreaction for HO-1 was observed in cells of synovial tissue including synovial fibroblasts and cells in synovial pannus. HO-1 protein levels in cultured media of RASFs were increased by stimulation by interleukin-1β at 6 h and tumor necrosis factor-alpha at 12 h, but suppressed by interferon-gamma at 12 and 24 h. These results indicated that HO-1 expression in synovial tissue might be stimulated by inflammatory cytokines. The correlation of HO-1 concentration in synovial fluid with serum CRP and MMP-3 in joint fluid indicated that HO-1 might be useful as a marker of joint inflammation in RA patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-157
Number of pages8
JournalModern Rheumatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1)
  • Joint fluid
  • Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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