Clinical significance of cytokine determination in synovial fluid

Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2002 Feb;39(1):63-88. doi: 10.1080/10408360290795448.


Cytokines are a complex family of small regulatory proteins able to mediate intercellular communication and play a crucial role in immunologic and inflammatory reactions. Many reports have demonstrated that some cytokines, in particular tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) and interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, and IL-8, so-called proinflammatory, may have a major role in the pathogenesis of joint diseases. Thus, high levels of these substances have been found in inflammatory arthropathies, in particular in those characterized by a more aggressive and destructive outcome, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and infectious arthritis. In keeping with their role, the determination of cytokines in synovial fluid may be proposed for clinical purposes, including diagnostic and prognostic assessments. Furthermore, as some of these cytokines may reflect disease activity, their determination may also be useful in the evaluation of therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay
  • Cytokines / analysis*
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Joint Diseases / metabolism
  • Joint Diseases / therapy
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Synovial Fluid / chemistry*
  • Synovitis / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Cytokine