Role of adipose tissues in osteoarthritis : Current Opinion in Rheumatology

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OSTEOARTHRITIS: Edited by Mukundan Attur

Role of adipose tissues in osteoarthritis

Zapata-Linares, Natalia; Eymard, Florent; Berenbaum, Francis; Houard, Xavier

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Current Opinion in Rheumatology 33(1):p 84-93, January 2021. | DOI: 10.1097/BOR.0000000000000763


Purpose of review 

Epidemiologic studies reveal that the link between obesity and osteoarthritis cannot be uniquely explained by overweight-associated mechanical overload. For this reason, much attention focuses on the endocrine activity of adipose tissues. In addition to the systemic role of visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues, many arguments highlight the involvement of local adipose tissues in osteoarthritis.

Recent findings 

Alteration in MRI signal intensity of the infrapatellar fat pad may predict both accelerated knee osteoarthritis and joint replacement. In this context, recent studies show that mesenchymal stromal cells could play a pivotal role in the pathological remodelling of intra-articular adipose tissues (IAATs) in osteoarthritis. In parallel, recent findings underline bone marrow adipose tissue as a major player in the control of the bone microenvironment, suggesting its possible role in osteoarthritis.


The recent description of adipose tissues of various phenotypes within an osteoarthritic joint allows us to evoke their direct involvement in the initiation and progression of the osteoarthritic process. We can expect in the near future the discovery of novel molecules targeting these tissues.

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