Increased friction coefficient and superficial zone protein expression in patients with advanced osteoarthritis

C. P. Neu, A Hari Reddi, K. Komvopoulos, T. M. Schmid, P. E. Di Cesare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Objective. To quantify the concentration of superficial zone protein (SZP) in the articular cartilage and synovial fluid of patients with advanced osteoarthritis (OA) and to further correlate the SZP content with the friction coefficient, OA severity, and levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Methods. Samples of articular cartilage and synovial fluid were obtained from patients undergoing elective total knee replacement surgery. Additional normal samples were obtained from donated body program and tissue bank sources. Regional SZP expression in cartilage obtained from the femoral condyles was quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and visualized by immunohistochemistry. Friction coefficient measurements of cartilage plugs slid in the boundary lubrication system were obtained. OA severity was graded using histochemical analyses. The concentrations of SZP and proinflammatory cytokines in synovial fluid were determined by ELISA. Results. A pattern of SZP localization in knee cartilage was identified, with load-bearing regions exhibiting high SZP expression. SZP expression patterns were correlated with friction coefficient and OA severity; however, SZP expression was observed in all samples at the articular surface, regardless of OA severity. SZP expression and aspirate volume of synovial fluid were higher in OA patients than in normal controls. Expression of cytokines was elevated in the synovial fluid of some patients. Conclusion. Our findings indicate a mechanochemical coupling in which physical forces regulate OA severity and joint lubrication. The findings of this study also suggest that SZP may be ineffective in reducing joint friction in the boundary lubrication mode at an advanced stage of OA, where other mechanisms may dominate the observed tribological behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2680-2687
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Increased friction coefficient and superficial zone protein expression in patients with advanced osteoarthritis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this