Transforming growth factor-beta 1 and 2 in the synovial-like interface membrane between implant and bone in loosening of total hip arthroplasty

J Rheumatol. 1997 Apr;24(4):694-701.


Objective: Development of a synovial-like membrane in the implant-bone or cement-bone interface has been linked to aseptic loosening of total hip arthroplasties (THA). This tissue consists of a fibrous stroma containing blood vessels and macrophages, but with relatively few lymphocytes, compared to "autoimmune" rheumatoid synovitis. Our aim was to examine transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) in the synovial-like membrane of the interface and pseudocapsular tissue of loose THA and compare it to control knee synovial membrane.

Methods: Twenty samples obtained from 10 patients with loose THA at revisions performed for aseptic loosening and 10 samples of knee synovial membrane as controls were analyzed for TGF-beta expression using rabbit antihuman TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2 IgG in immunohistochemical staining. Results were quantitated by a semi-automatic VIDAS image analysis system.

Results: Immunoperoxidase staining disclosed TGF-beta in macrophages and fibroblasts and also in some vascular endothelial cells and in occasional lymphocytes. Image analysis showed an increased number of positive cells/mm2 of both TGF-beta 1 (2327 +/- 212 vs 946 +/- 136; p < 0.01) and TGF-beta 2 (2292 +/- 594 vs 311 +/- 113; p < 0.01) compared to the control tissue. Increased expression of both TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2 was also shown in the pseudocapsule (3210 +/- 585 and 1796 +/- 214). Use of cement or type of alloy did not seem to have any great effect on local expression of TGF-beta.

Conclusion: Profibrotic and immunosuppressive TGF-beta are increased in the synovial-like membrane in periprosthetic tissues around loose hip prostheses. They may play a role in the formation, maintenance, and growth of the interface tissue, and thus in the aseptic loosening of THA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hip Prosthesis / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Membranes / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Synovial Membrane / metabolism*
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta