Lubricin, homologous to superficial zone protein (SZP), functions as a boundary lubricant in articular cartilage and plays an essential role in the maintenance of joint function and homeostasis. Wnt signalling plays a key role in joint development, including synovial joint formation, and several Wnt proteins are expressed in the synovium and articular cartilage in arthritis. The aim of this study was to determine the role of Wnt signalling on SZP accumulation in synoviocytes. Isolated synoviocytes from bovine knee joints were cultured with Wnt proteins (Wnt-3a and Wnt-5a) and antagonists or agonists of the Wnt–β-catenin pathway or Wnt–Ca2+ pathway in serum-free chemically defined medium. SZP accumulation in the culture medium was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Wnt-3a suppressed SZP accumulation via a Wnt–β-catenin-dependent pathway. In contrast, Wnt-5a stimulated SZP accumulation via a β-catenin independent pathway. The present investigation provides novel insights into the role of the Wnt signalling pathways in SZP accumulation in synoviocytes and their roles in the homeostasis of normal joints. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.