To examine the reported beneficial effect of zinc in rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid synovial tissue has been maintained in vitro in non-proliferative culture with or without zinc sulphate in the culture medium. Alkaline phosphatase activity was measured by microdensitometry of the cytochemical reaction in cryostat sections; the activity in blood vessels was measured separately from that in the supporting tissue below the synovial surface. Zinc enhanced this activity optimally at concentrations of between 10(-5) and 10(-4) mol/l.
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