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Biochemistry - Immunology - Pathology - Rheumatology

The Features of the Synovium in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis According to the 2010 ACR/EULAR Classification Criteria
Published: Friday, May 04, 2012
Author: Marleen G. H. van de Sande et al.

by Marleen G. H. van de Sande, Maria J. H. de Hair, Yvonne Schuller, Gijs P. M. van de Sande, Carla A. Wijbrandts, Huib J. Dinant, Danielle M. Gerlag, Paul P. Tak


It has been shown in early arthritis cohorts that the 2010 ACR/EULAR criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) enable an earlier diagnosis, perhaps at the cost of a somewhat more heterogeneous patient population. We describe the features of synovial inflammation in RA patients classified according to these new criteria.


At baseline, synovial tissue biopsy samples were obtained from disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD)-naïve early RA patients (clinical signs and symptoms <1 year). Synovial tissue was analyzed for cell infiltration, vascularity, and expression of adhesion molecules. Stained sections were evaluated by digital image analysis. Patients were classified according to the two different sets of classification criteria, autoantibody status, and outcome.


Synovial tissue of 69 RA patients according to 2010 ACR/EULAR criteria was analyzed: 56 patients who fulfilled the criteria for RA at baseline and 13 who were initially diagnosed as undifferentiated arthritis but fulfilled criteria for RA upon follow up. The synovium at baseline was infiltrated by plasma cells, macrophages, and T cells as well as other cells, and findings were comparable to those when patients were selected based on the 1987 ACR criteria for RA. There was no clear cut difference in the characteristics of the synovium between RA patients initially diagnosed as undifferentiated arthritis and those who already fulfilled classification criteria at baseline.


The features of synovial inflammation are similar when the 2010 ACR/EULAR classification criteria are used compared to the 1987 ACR criteria.