Fibroblast-like synoviocytes: key effector cells in rheumatoid arthritis

Immunol Rev. 2010 Jan;233(1):233-55. doi: 10.1111/j.0105-2896.2009.00859.x.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains a significant unmet medical need despite significant therapeutic advances. The pathogenesis of RA is complex and includes many cell types, including T cells, B cells, and macrophages. Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) in the synovial intimal lining also play a key role by producing cytokines that perpetuate inflammation and proteases that contribute to cartilage destruction. Rheumatoid FLS develop a unique aggressive phenotype that increases invasiveness into the extracellular matrix and further exacerbates joint damage. Recent advances in understanding the biology of FLS, including their regulation regulate innate immune responses and activation of intracellular signaling mechanisms that control their behavior, provide novel insights into disease mechanisms. New agents that target FLS could potentially complement the current therapies without major deleterious effect on adaptive immune responses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy
  • Cartilage, Articular / immunology
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Fibroblasts / immunology*
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Synovial Membrane / immunology*
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators