Crystal/cell interactions in osteoarthritis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The deposition of calcium-containing crystals in articular tissues is probably an under-recognized event. Clinical observations indicate that exaggerated and uniquely distributed cartilage degeneration is associated with these deposits. Perhaps the most compelling argument favoring a role for crystals in causing osteoarthritis stems from their in-vitro effects on articular tissues. RECENT FINDINGS: In contrast to other cytokines, basic calcium phosphate crystal-elicited signal transduction pathways have not been completely studied. In this review, I will highlight some of the recent findings on the roles of intracellular calcium concentrations, mitogen-activated protein kinases and protein kinase C isozymes in the calcium-containing crystal signal transduction pathways. SUMMARY: The ultimate biological effects of calcium-containing crystals on cells are increases in prostaglandin production, matrix metalloproteinase synthesis and secretion, and increased mitogenesis. These effects appear to correlate with calcium deposition disease in vivo. The increased production of matrix-degrading matrix metalloproteinases by synoviocytes results in articular damage and degeneration and the release of additional crystals from the surrounding tissue, while mitogenesis leads to an increase in synoviocytes that could generate more matrix metalloproteinases and prostaglandins. Understanding the crystal-induced cellular response signal transduction mechanisms will allow investigators to design specific therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-428
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Orthopaedics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006


  • Articular joint degeneration
  • Crystals
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Signal transduction pathways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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