Particle‐induced synthesis of collagenase by synovial fibroblasts: An immunocytochemical study

P. E. Greis, H. I. Georgescu, F. H. Fu, C. H. Evans

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35 Scopus citations


The response of synoviocytes to wear particles has been implicated in several orthopaedic pathologies, including the synovitis associated with the failure of synthetic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) replacements. To study the interactions of particles with synovial fibroblasts at the level of the individual cell, we employed immunocytochemistry, with use of antiserum, to lapine interstitial collagenase. Cultures of the HIG‐82 lapine synovial cell line showed only weak immunofluorescence under resting conditions. Incubation with phorbol myristate acetate or autocrine factors known as cell‐activating factors (CAFs) induced marked changes in morphology and intense immunofluorescence. This technique then was used to study the effects of standard particles of latex and of particles generated from two prosthetic ACL materials, Dacron and carbon. Internalized particles of latex, Dacron, and carbon all induced collagenase. Particles of latex that were too large for endocytosis failed to induce collagenase, whereas particles of carbon and, in particular, Dacron that remained extracellular, still provoked considerable synthesis of collagenase. Thus, both the size and the physical properties of these materials influence their ability to activate synoviocytes. Certain cells that appeared by visual inspection to contain no particles nevertheless produced collagenase when in co‐culture with cells that did contain particles. This is consistent with earlier biochemical data showing that phagocytosis, in addition to inducing collagenase, also provokes the release of CAFs, which then activate additional cells in the culture. More rarely, cells were identified which, although containing particles, did not stain positively for collagenase. Since carbon and Dacron are the major components of certain prosthetic ligament replacements, the cellular responses to their wear particles and to debris generated from other prosthetic materials merit further close attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-293
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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