A model of inflamed primary human synoviocytes for the evaluation of compounds in the physiopathology of joint diseases

Commonly used acronym: Model of inflamed synoviocytes

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Translational - Applied Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Used species
Targeted organ system or type of research
Joint health


Method keywords
  • inflammation
  • cartilage catabolism
  • short-term
  • mode of action
  • screening
Scientific area keywords
  • joint health
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • medical devices
  • visco-supplements
  • anti-catabolic properties
  • osteoarthritis
  • drugs
  • food supplements
Method description

The culture of primary human synoviocytes provides an excellent cellular model for studying the normal and pathological physiology of synoviocytes and the development of joint diseases. Human primary synoviocytes can either be provided by commercial suppliers or isolated from fresh biological material (synovial membrane tissue sampled during total knee replacement surgeries). Primary synoviocytes are cultured in monolayer, for short-term periods (usually from 24h to 72h), in presence of IL-1b which is efficient to induce a pro-inflammatory environment and pro-catabolic conditions. This short-term model is used to assess the mode of action of several novel therapeutic solutions intended for joint diseases such as osteoarthritis (drugs, food supplements, medical devices, ATMP). It can also be used as a rapid screening model before moving on to in vivo experiments (in view of the 3Rs). Dexamethasone is used as positive control to counter the pro-inflammatory and pro-catabolic status of the inflamed synoviocytes.

Lab equipment
  • - Laminar flow hood and CO2 incubator (for cell culture),
  • - qPCR machine (for molecular biology analyses),
  • - Spectrophotometer and fluorometer (for NO and DNA measurements, respectively).
Method status
  • History of use
  • Internally validated

Pros, cons & Future potential

  • - Short-term, cheap and efficient screening model,
  • - Easy access to the HFLS (commercial supplier).
  • Inter-variability between donors (primary cultures).
  • This model could be adapted into a co-culture model with chondrocytes to better mimic the joint articulation.
Future & Other applications
  • This model is currently adapted to other species in our facilities (dog, horse, ...) for the testing of veterinary products.

References, associated documents and other information

Associated documents
In vitro culture of primary human synoviocytes.pdf

Contact person

Julie Uerlings


Preclinical Department