Bone Joint Res 2019;8:179–188.

Synovial fluid interleukin-16, interleukin-18, and CRELD2 as novel biomarkers of prosthetic joint infections

M-F. Chen, C-H. Chang, L-Y. Yang, P-H. Hsieh, H-N. Shih, S. W. N. Ueng, Y. Chang
Hip Knee


Prosthetic joint infection (PJI) diagnosis is a major challenge in orthopaedics, and no reliable parameters have been established for accurate, preoperative predictions in the differential diagnosis of aseptic loosening or PJI. This study surveyed factors in synovial fluid (SF) for improving PJI diagnosis.


We enrolled 48 patients (including 39 PJI and nine aseptic loosening cases) who required knee/hip revision surgery between January 2016 and December 2017. The PJI diagnosis was established according to the Musculoskeletal Infection Society (MSIS) criteria. SF was used to survey factors by protein array and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to compare protein expression patterns in SF among three groups (aseptic loosening and first- and second-stage surgery). We compared routine clinical test data, such as C-reactive protein level and leucocyte number, with potential biomarker data to assess the diagnostic ability for PJI within the same patient groups.


Cut-off values of 1473 pg/ml, 359 pg/ml, and 8.45 pg/ml were established for interleukin (IL)-16, IL-18, and cysteine-rich with EGF-like domains 2 (CRELD2), respectively. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that these factors exhibited an accuracy of 1 as predictors of PJI. These factors represent potential biomarkers for decisions associated with prosthesis reimplantation based on their ability to return to baseline values following the completion of debridement.


IL-16, IL-18, and CRELD2 were found to be potential biomarkers for PJI diagnosis, with SF tests outperforming blood tests in accuracy. These factors could be useful for assessing successful debridement based on their ability to return to baseline values following the completion of debridement.

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