Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive degenerative disease resulting in joint deterioration. Synovial inflammation is present in the OA joint and has been associated with radiographic and pain progression. Several OA risk factors, including ageing, obesity, trauma and mechanical loading, play a role in OA pathogenesis, likely by modifying synovial biology. In addition, other factors, such as mitochondrial dysfunction, damage-associated molecular patterns, cytokines, metabolites and crystals in the synovium, activate synovial cells and mediate synovial inflammation. An understanding of the activated pathways that are involved in OA-related synovial inflammation could form the basis for the stratification of patients and the development of novel therapeutics. This Review focuses on the biology of the OA synovium, how the cells residing in or recruited to the synovium interact with each other, how they become activated, how they contribute to OA progression and their interplay with other joint structures.
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