Presence of NAP-1/IL-8 in synovial fluids indicates a possible pathogenic role in rheumatoid arthritis

Scand J Immunol. 1991 Sep;34(3):333-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.1991.tb01554.x.


The synovial fluid in affected joints of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients contains many cells, in numbers strongly correlated with the severity of disease. As the disease worsens and the cell count increases, the polymorphonuclear leucocyte becomes the predominant cell type. Although the inflammatory cytokines interleukin 1 (IL-1) and tumour necrosis factor (TNF) have no direct neutrophil-attractant activity, they are both potent inducers of interleukin 8 (IL-8) in a variety of cell types. Chemotactic attraction of neutrophils is a major activity of IL-8. Examination of a number of synovial fluids showed that significant levels of IL-8 are present in a high proportion of RA cases (10 out of 17), at concentrations directly related to the number of cells in the joint, and to circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. The cytokine is present only at background levels in other diseases accompanied by arthritic manifestations, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and induced arthritis. The progressive joint destruction seen in all cases where high IL-8 levels were measured, coupled with the neutrophil-rich cell count and the strong correlation between concentration of IL-8 and both serum CRP and cellular influx into the joint, is strongly suggestive of a pathogenic role for IL-8 in RA.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / etiology*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cell Count / drug effects
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / standards
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / analysis*
  • Knee Joint
  • Synovial Fluid / chemistry*
  • Synovial Fluid / cytology
  • Triamcinolone / pharmacology
  • Triamcinolone / therapeutic use


  • Interleukin-8
  • Triamcinolone
  • C-Reactive Protein