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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 430324, 9 pages
Research Article

Clinical Trial and In Vitro Study for the Role of Cartilage and Synovia in Acute Articular Infection

1Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, Albert-Ludwigs University Medical Center Freiburg, Hugstetter Street 55, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
2Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Lenghalde 2, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland
3Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Odense University Hospital and Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Sdr. Boulevard 29, 5000 Odense C, Denmark

Received 11 July 2015; Revised 8 October 2015; Accepted 12 October 2015

Academic Editor: Onkar P. Kulkarni

Copyright © 2015 Elia R. Langenmair et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Osteoarthritis is a long-term complication of acute articular infections. However, the roles of cartilage and synovia in this process are not yet fully understood. Methods. Patients with acute joint infections were enrolled in a prospective clinical trial and the cytokine composition of effusions compared in patients with arthroplasty (n = 8) or with intact joints (n = 67). Cytokines and cell function were also analyzed using a human in vitro model of joint infection. Results. Synovial IL-1β levels were significantly higher in patients with arthroplasty (p = 0.004). Higher IL-1β concentrations were also found in the in vitro model without chondrocytes (p < 0.05). The anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 were consistently expressed in vivo and in vitro, showing no association with the presence of cartilage or chondrocytes. In contrast, FasL levels increased steadily in vitro, reaching higher levels without chondrocytes (p < 0.05). Likewise, the viability of synovial fibroblasts (SFB) during infection was higher in the presence of chondrocytes. The cartilage-metabolism markers aggrecan and bFGF were at higher concentrations in intact joints, but also synthesized by SFB. Conclusions. Our data suggest an anti-inflammatory effect of cartilage associated with the SFBs’ increased resistance to infections, which displayed the ability to effectively synthesize cartilage metabolites.The trial is registered with DRKS 00003536, MISSinG.