Localization of collagenase mRNA in rheumatoid arthritis synovium by in situ hybridization histochemistry.
Collagenase has been implicated as playing an important role in the connective tissue destruction that is a major feature of rheumatoid arthritis. Numerous cell types in the hyperplastic rheumatoid synovium are capable of synthesizing collagenase. Past studies have used predominantly synovial fibroblasts in culture as a model system for the regulation of collagenase production, but the major cellular source of the enzyme in vivo has not been determined. Using the techniques of in situ hybridization histochemistry and indirect immunofluorescence, we determined the cellular source of collagenase in frozen sections of human synovium. Collagenase mRNA production was localized to cells along the synovial lining layer in rheumatoid arthritis. These were identified as the macrophage-like Type A synovial lining cells by immunofluorescence with antibody LeuM3. Endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and T and B lymphocytes were devoid of detectable collagenase mRNA. Synovial tissue sections from patients with osteoarthritis and trauma did not contain detectable collagenase mRNA. These data identify the Type A macrophage-like synovial lining cell as the primary source of collagenase mRNA in vivo in the rheumatoid arthritis synovium and, potentially, as a major effector cell in the tissue destruction of the disease.
McCachren, SS; Haynes, BF; Niedel, JE
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