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J Orthop Res. 1997 May;15(3):427-36.

Immunolocalization of cytokines and their receptors in adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder.

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Laboratory for Soft Tissue Research, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that specific cytokines are involved in the initiation and evolution of the fibrotic process in adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. After approval from the Institutional Review Board, biopsies of shoulder capsule and synovium were collected during shoulder arthroscopy from 19 patients with adhesive capsulitis, 14 patients with nonspecific synovitis and no fibrosis or clinical evidence of adhesive capsulitis, and seven patients undergoing surgery for another pathology who had a normal capsule and synovium. Immunohistochemical localization with monoclonal antibodies to transforming growth factor-beta and its receptor, platelet-derived growth factor and its receptor, basic fibroblast growth factor, interleukin-1 beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and hepatocyte growth factor was performed using standard immunoperoxidase techniques. The frequency of cytokine staining was correlated with the clinical diagnosis. Synovial cells, fibroblasts, T-cells, and B-cells were identified with specific antibodies, and newly synthesized matrix was examined for type-I and type-III collagen by immunohistochemical staining. The predominant cell types present were synovial cells and fibroblasts. Staining for type-III collagen in adhesive capsulitis tissues indicated new deposition of collagen in the capsule. There was staining for transforming growth factor-beta and its receptor, platelet-derived growth factor and its receptor, interleukin-1 beta, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in adhesive capsulitis and nonspecific synovitis tissues, compared with minimal staining in normal capsule. Staining was more frequent in synovial cells than in capsular cells. The frequency of cell and matrix staining for transforming growth factor-beta, platelet-derived growth factor, and hepatocyte growth factor was greater in adhesive capsulitis tissues than in those from patients with nonspecific synovitis. No difference in the frequency of staining between primary (idiopathic) and secondary adhesive capsulitis was found. The results of this study indicate that adhesive capsulitis involves both synovial hyperplasia and capsular fibrosis. Cytokines such as transforming growth factor-beta and platelet-derived growth factor may be involved in the inflammatory and fibrotic processes in adhesive capsulitis. Matrix-bound transforming growth factor-beta may act as a persistent stimulus, resulting in capsular fibrosis. Understanding the basic pathophysiology of adhesive capsulitis is an important step in the development of clinically useful antifibrotic agents that may serve as novel treatments for patients with this conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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