The role of synovial fibroblasts in RA
Synovial fibroblasts are the major stromal cells in the joint synovium and play a crucial part in inflammation and joint destruction in RA. Synovial fibroblasts from patients with RA exhibit an intrinsically activated phenotype, which is maintained under cell culture conditions and is characterised by increased expression of matrix-degrading enzymes and pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. This aggressive phenotype is believed to be sustained by alterations in epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation and non-coding RNA. In our work, we look at different aspects of fibroblast biology to decipher how these cells are activated in RA, how they contribute to disease and how they can be therapeutically targeted.