Skip to main content

08-03-2018 | Osteoarthritis | Review | Article

Calcium-Containing Crystals and Osteoarthritis: an Unhealthy Alliance

Current Rheumatology Reports

Authors: Richard Conway, Geraldine M. McCarthy

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of joint disease globally and is associated with significant morbidity and disability. Increasing evidence points to an important inflammatory component in the development and progression of OA. The precise pathways involved in OA inflammatory processes remain to be clarified. Basic calcium phosphate (BCP) and calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPP) crystals can induce inflammation and arthritis and recent studies point to a potential pathogenic role in OA. In the light of this evidence, we explore the relationship and potential mechanistic pathways linking calcium-containing crystals and OA.

Recent Findings

CPP crystals induce inflammation through the NLRP3 inflammasome while BCP crystals mediate both NLRP3 dependent and independent effects. BCP crystals have been demonstrated to induce key mitogenic and inflammatory pathways and contribute to cartilage degradation.


Calcium-containing crystals induce key inflammatory pathways and may represent an attractive novel target in OA, a condition devoid of effective treatments.

Please log in to get access to this content

Related topics