Home
This Title All WIREs
WIREs RSS Feed
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Syst Biol Med
Impact Factor: 3.542

A systems biology approach to synovial joint lubrication in health, injury, and disease

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

Abstract The synovial joint contains synovial fluid (SF) within a cavity bounded by articular cartilage and synovium. SF is a viscous fluid that has lubrication, metabolic, and regulatory functions within synovial joints. SF contains lubricant molecules, including proteoglycan‐4 and hyaluronan. SF is an ultrafiltrate of plasma with secreted contributions from cell populations lining and within the synovial joint space, including chondrocytes and synoviocytes. Maintenance of normal SF lubricant composition and function are important for joint homeostasis. In osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and joint injury, changes in lubricant composition and function accompany alterations in the cytokine and growth factor environment and increased fluid and molecular transport through joint tissues. Thus, understanding the synovial joint lubrication system requires a multifaceted study of the various parts of the synovial joint and their interactions. Systems biology approaches at multiple scales are being used to describe the molecular, cellular, and tissue components and their interactions that comprise the functioning synovial joint. Analyses of the transcriptome and proteome of SF, cartilage, and synovium suggest that particular molecules and pathways play important roles in joint homeostasis and disease. Such information may be integrated with physicochemical tissue descriptions to construct integrative models of the synovial joint that ultimately may explain maintenance of health, recovery from injury, or development and progression of arthritis. WIREs Syst Biol Med 2012, 4:15–37. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.157 This article is categorized under: Physiology > Mammalian Physiology in Health and Disease Translational, Genomic, and Systems Medicine > Translational Medicine

This WIREs title offers downloadable PowerPoint presentations of figures for non-profit, educational use, provided the content is not modified and full credit is given to the author and publication.

Download a PowerPoint presentation of all images


Joint injury and disease involve pathologic changes in multiple joint tissues. Schematic view of synovial joint tissue changes in (b) OA, (c) RA, and (d) injury, compared to (a) a normal, healthy joint. Notched, outlined arrows represent fluid flows from vasculature to SF, and from SF to lymphatics. Undulating arrows represent secretion of lubricant molecules HA and PRG4 into SF. The relative sizes of arrows indicate relative magnitudes of flows and secretions. For example, increased flow from the vasculature to SF in (d) injury compared to (a) normal is represented by an orange, notched, outlined arrow that is larger in (d) injury compared to (a) normal. Up‐arrows indicate increases in concentrations of the various substances.

[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Browse by Topic

Physiology > Mammalian Physiology in Health and Disease
Translational, Genomic, and Systems Medicine > Translational Medicine

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts