Background: Frozen shoulder is a debilitating condition characterized by gradual loss of glenohumeral motion with chronic inflammation and capsular fibrosis. Yet its pathogenesis remains largely unknown. We hypothesized that the subacromial bursa may be responsible for the pathogenesis of frozen shoulder by producing inflammatory cytokines.
Materials and methods: We obtained joint capsules and subacromial bursae from 14 patients with idiopathic frozen shoulder and from 7 control subjects to determine the expression levels of interleukin (IL) 1α, IL-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), cyclooxygenase (COX) 1, and COX-2 by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, immunohistochemistry, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: IL-1α, IL-1β, TNF-α, COX-1, and COX-2 were expressed at significantly high levels in the joint capsules of the frozen shoulder group compared with those of the control group. Intriguingly, IL-1α, TNF-α, and COX-2 were also expressed at significantly high levels in the subacromial bursae of the frozen shoulder group compared with those of the control group. Immunohistochemical analysis showed increased expression of COX-2 in both the joint capsules and subacromial bursae of the frozen shoulder group.
Conclusions: These findings imply that elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines in the subacromial bursa may be associated with the pathogenesis of inflammation evolving into fibrosis.
Copyright © 2013 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.