Synovitis in rheumatoid arthritis: Scoring of characteristic histopathological features

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Abstract

Synovial tissue specimens obtained from the knee joints of 40 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and from 22 patients with osteoarthritis (OA) were examined histologically. The histopathological features of RA synovitis and OA synovitis were then compared. Seven criteria items of histopathological features characteristic to RA synovitis were given a score of 1-3 points each in order to evaluate the histological severity of the seven items. Their total scores were then calculated. A comparison of the total RA synovitis score and the total OA synovitis score revealed that RA synovitis showed more than 11 points (maximum 20 points), while OA synovitis showed less than 10 points in all but two cases. Furthermore, the total scores of RA synovitis were then determined in the same manner for other joints, where it was confirmed that five other joints had scores of more than 11 points as well; that is, the intercarpal, wrist, elbow, ankle and hip joints in 52 patients with RA. From these results, it was concluded that in the histological examination of biopsied synovial tissue of RA, if the total score for synovitis is more than 11 points (maximum 20 points), an histological diagnosis of RA synovitis can be confirmed.

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