The deposition of calcium-containing crystals in articular tissues is probably an underrecognized 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. In this short review, we will discuss the fact that crystals can cause the degeneration of articular tissues in 2 separate pathways. In the "Direct" pathway, crystals directly induce fibroblast-like synoviocytes to proliferate and produce metalloproteinases and prostaglandins. The other "Paracrine pathway" involves the interaction between crystals and macrophages/monocytes, which leads to synthesis and release of cytokines that can reinforce the action of crystals on synoviocytes and induce chondrocytes to secrete enzymes, eventually causing the degeneration of articular tissues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas