Lymphocyte subpopulations in rheumatoid arthritis
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Peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) and synovial fluid lymphocytes (SFL) of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were examined with monoclonal antibodies, with coated ox red blood cells for the expression of Fc receptors for IgG or IgM (Tμ and Tγ cells), and incubated for the demonstration of α-naphtyl acetate esterase and acid phosphatase.
Equal percentages of OKT4 and OKT8 PBL were found in clinically active and inactive RA patients, and in healthy controls, but decreased percentages of OKT4 and increased percentages of OKT8-positive lymphocytes were found among the SFL.
The percentages of Tμ and Tγ cells, the presence of HLA-DR membrane antigens on T lymphocytes as well as the staining pattern for the enzymes revealed that SFL of patients with RA were highly activated, compared to PBL of RA patients and healthy controls.
It can be concluded from this study that a single determination of OKT4 and OKT8-positive lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of RA patients has no predictive value for disease activity. However, the results of the experiments on T lymphocyte-activation clearly showed preferential activation of SFL compared to PBL, indicating that activation of lymphocytes occurs at the site of inflammation.
Key wordsRheumatoid arthritis T lymphocytes Monoclonal antibodies Hydrolytic enzymes Membrane receptors
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