Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Inflammation and fibrosis in adipose tissue of osteoarthritic joints

The infrapatellar fat pad and other adipose tissues in close proximity to the joint have been linked with osteoarthritis (OA), but the nature of this relationship is unclear. Two new studies elucidate the features of intra-articular adipose tissues in OA and raise important questions for future investigations.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Thijssen, E., van Caam, A. & van der Kraan, P. M. Obesity and osteoarthritis, more than just wear and tear: pivotal roles for inflamed adipose tissue and dyslipidaemia in obesity-induced osteoarthritis. Rheumatology (Oxford) 54, 588–600 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Ioan-Facsinay, A. & Kloppenburg, M. An emerging player in knee osteoarthritis: the infrapatellar fat pad. Arthritis Res. Ther. 15, 225 (2013).

    Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Bastiaansen-Jenniskens, Y. M. et al. Stimulation of fibrotic processes by the infrapatellar fat pad in cultured synoviocytes from patients with osteoarthritis: a possible role for prostaglandin F2α . Arthritis Rheum. 65, 2070–2080 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Eymard, F. et al. Induction of an inflammatory and prodegradative phenotype in autologous fibroblast-like synoviocytes by the infrapatellar fat pad from patients with knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheumatol. 66, 2165–2174 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Eymard, F. et al. Knee and hip intra-articular adipose tissues (IAATs) compared with autologous subcutaneous adipose tissue: a specific phenotype for a central player in osteoarthritis. Ann. Rheum. Dis. (2017).

  6. 6

    Barboza, E. et al. Pro-fibrotic infrapatellar fat pad remodeling without M1-macrophage polarization precedes knee osteoarthritis in diet-induced obese mice. Arthritis Rheumatol. (2017).

  7. 7

    Klein-Wieringa, I. R. et al. Inflammatory cells in patients with endstage knee osteoarthritis: a comparison between the synovium and the infrapatellar fat pad. J. Rheumatol. 43, 771–778 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Sun, K., Kusminski, C. M. & Scherer, P. E. Adipose tissue remodeling and obesity. J. Clin. Invest. 121, 2094–2101 (2011).

    CAS  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Chuckpaiwong, B., Charles, H. C., Kraus, V. B., Guilak, F. & Nunley, J. A. Age-associated increases in the size of the infrapatellar fat pad in knee osteoarthritis as measured by 3T MRI. J. Orthop. Res. 28, 1149–1154 (2010).

    Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Iwata, M. et al. Initial responses of articular tissues in a murine high-fat diet-induced osteoarthritis model: pivotal role of the IPFP as a cytokine fountain. PLoS ONE 8, e60706 (2013).

    CAS  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors' work is supported by the Dutch Arthritis Foundation (LLP24; A.I.-F., M.K.) and the Innovative Medicine Initiative Joint Undertaking funded project Be The Cure (115142–2; A.I.-F.).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Margreet Kloppenburg.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ioan-Facsinay, A., Kloppenburg, M. Inflammation and fibrosis in adipose tissue of osteoarthritic joints. Nat Rev Rheumatol 13, 325–326 (2017).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing