Profiling of inflammatory mediators in the synovial fluid related to pain in knee osteoarthritis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 21, 99 (2020).

Profiling of inflammatory mediators in the synovial fluid related to pain in knee osteoarthritis

Li, L., Li, Z., Li, Y. et al.
Knee

Background

Inflammatory mediators in the synovial fluid (SF) play critical roles in the initiation and development of pain in knee osteoarthritis (KOA). However, data for inflammatory marker expression are conflicting, and the role of SF inflammatory mediators in neuropathic pain is not clear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify SF inflammatory mediators associated with nociceptive and neuropathic pain in KOA.

Methods

Levels of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, macrophage colony-stimulating factor, MMP-3, MMP-13, metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 5, calcitonin gene-related peptide, neuropeptide Y, substance P and bradykinin were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in 86 patients. Nociceptive pain was assessed using the numeric rating scale (NRS), visual analog scale (VAS) and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain score. Neuropathic pain was determined using the PainDETECT questionnaire. Moreover, knee function was evaluated by the WOMAC score and range of motion (ROM) assessments. Radiological grade was defined using the Kellgren-Lawrence (K-L) grading scale.

Results

Pain scores measured using different methods correlated highly with each other. A worse K-L grade and knee function were associated with worse pain. Expression of IL-1β and IL-6 was increased in the early stage compared with the late stage. The NRS score correlated positively with age, K-L grade, and the WOMAC score and negatively with ROM and TNF-α expression. The VAS correlated positively with age, K-L grade, and the WOMAC score but negatively with ROM and levels of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α. The WOMAC pain score did not correlate with any of the inflammatory mediators measured; it correlated only with ROM. The PainDETECT score correlated only with the WOMAC score. Expression of other inflammatory mediators did not correlate with any of the pain scores.

Conclusions

IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α play critical roles in pain in the early stage of KOA and correlate with pain. The catabolic enzymes and neuropeptides measured do not correlate with nociceptive and neuropathic pain. New biomarkers related to pain in the late stage need to be further investigated.


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