Skip to main content

The Human Cell Atlas applied to musculoskeletal disease (MSK)

Christopher Buckley, DPhil, FRCP, MBBS,
 University of Birmingham and University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Sarah Snelling, MBioChem, DPhil, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 1 March 2024

Arthritis Research & Therapy is calling for submissions to our collection on The Human Cell Atlas applied to musculoskeletal disease.  The Human Cell Atlas (HCA) is an international group of cartographers working to create cellular reference maps of the position, function, and characteristics of every cell type in the human body. These comprehensive cellular reference maps could theoretically become a basis for diagnosing, monitoring, and treating musculoskeletal diseases.

Image credit: Christopher Buckley and Sarah Snelling

About the collection

Arthritis Research & Therapy is calling for submissions to our collection on The Human Cell Atlas applied to musculoskeletal disease. The aim of the HCA is “to create comprehensive reference maps of all human cells—the fundamental units of life—as a basis for understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring, and treating disease”.  Until now, functionally relevant cell populations have proven difficult to define, characterize and study in health and disease across all the anatomical structures of the MSK system. Consequently, a cellular framework for the development of targeted therapies, especially for physical-metabolic disorders of the MSK system is lacking. Two revolutions have occurred that can help bring our understanding of the cell populations that comprise the MSK system to the same level that has been achieved for blood borne cells. The first is minimally invasive biopsy procedures that allow resident tissue cells to be obtained, often over time and the second is the advent of single cell sequencing and tissue imaging that allow individual cells to be characterized and their location within tissues mapped at high resolution. Both technologies have been essential, across other tissues and systems, to the foundation of the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) and are now being applied to MSK tissues.

This collection of articles on the application of the HCA to MSK diseases aims to present recent advances within the field. The call is open for any paper (systematic or narrative reviews, original research articles, and unique clinical cases) within the reach of the overall theme. 

Suggestions for possible topics could include:
•    Cell Atlases of the key structures in joints
•    Atlas of genetic or congenital abnormalities of the MSK system
•    Interplay of MSK diseases with the immune system
•    Interplay with other diseases of the locomotor system (nerves and muscle)  

Conflicts of interest:
Christopher Buckley’s research salary is paid by the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research. He is joint Editor of ARRT. Sarah Snelling is lead coordinator for the HCA Musculoskeletal Bionetwork. She is funded from a CZI grant and the Oxford NIHR BRC.

  1. Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) play a central role in RA pathogenesis and are the main cellular component in the inflamed synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). FLSs are emerging as promisin...

    Authors: Hongyan Qian, Chaoqiong Deng, Shiju Chen, Xinwei Zhang, Yan He, Jingying Lan, Aodi Wang, Guixiu Shi and Yuan Liu
    Citation: Arthritis Research & Therapy 2024 26:103
  2. Whether rheumatoid arthritis patients have an increased risk of cervical cancer remains controversial, and further research is needed on this clinical question. This study aims to investigate the association b...

    Authors: Minxian Xu, Huan Chen, Tao Tan, Kaihong Xie, Hui Xie and Qing Li
    Citation: Arthritis Research & Therapy 2024 26:35

Submission Guidelines

Back to top

This collection welcomes submission of Research Articles, Data Notes, Case Reports, Study Protocols, and Database Articles. Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have read our submission guidelines. Articles for this collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a collection, please select "The Human Cell Atlas applied to musculoskeletal disease (MSK)" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the collection as they are published.

The Guest Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Guest Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.