Why is biologic therapy useful in spondyloarthritis? Knowledge from synovial immunopathologic studies of spondyloarthritis

Authors

  • Chung-Tei Chou

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    • Division of Allergy-Immunology-Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
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Correspondence: Dr Chung-Tei Chou, MD, Division of Allergy-Immunology-Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No. 201, Sec 2, Shipai Rd., Beitou District, Taipei 112, Taiwan. Email: ctchou@vghtpe.gov.tw

Abstract

The pathogenesis of most rheumatic diseases remains unknown. It is believed that both genetic and environmental factors play a pivotal role in the development of synovial inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), spondyloarthritis (SpA) and osteoarthritis (OA). In the last two decades, there have been many immunopathologic studies on RA, SpA and OA, and the findings revealed different types of arthritis may also present different pathologic patterns. These included higher vascularity and increased infiltration with CD163 macrophages and neutrophils, but relatively low values for lining cell (LL) hyperplasia in SpA synovium. However, the increased LL hyperplasia, as well as CD1a+ cells and the presence of intracellular citrullinated protein were more prominent in RA than in SpA synovitis. Anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNFα) therapy can significantly reduce synovial LL hyperplasia, vascularity and mononuclear cells infiltration in the majority of RA or SpA patients. This may explain why clinically, arthritis patients can get significant improvement after TNFα blocker treatment.

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