Tenascin-C (TN-C) is a hexameric glycoprotein component of extracellular matrix, and alternative RNA splicing creates two major TN-C size variants (the small and large variants). The large TN-C variants play key roles in many pathologic conditions in adults, including tumorigenesis, regeneration, and inflammation. This cross-sectional study compared levels of large TN-C variants in synovial fluid of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Synovial fluid samples were obtained from knees of 26 patients with advanced RA and 79 with advanced OA. Expression of TN-C splice variants was examined using Western blotting. The levels of large TN-C variants in synovial fluid were determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Synovium were analyzed for TN-C by immunohistochemistry. Immunoblotting showed the presence of large TN-C variants in synovial fluid from patients with RA and OA. However, levels of large TN-C variants were fourfold higher in RA samples compared with OA samples (p < 0.01). Synovial fluid levels of TN-C in RA did not correlate with C-reactive protein levels. Immunohistochemistry of the synovium showed stronger reactivity in RA samples than in OA samples. These results indicate that local synthesis of TN-C is increased during rheumatic disease.
(c) 2007 Orthopaedic Research Society.