Lymphocyte subsets defined by monoclonal antibodies were investigated in bone marrow and peripheral blood of 17 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA); 13 patients with osteoarthritis or aseptic necrosis served as controls. Patients with RA were found to have a raised OKT 4/8 ratio both in bone marrow and peripheral blood in comparison with the controls. Furthermore, bone marrow of RA showed a lower percentage of OKT 8+ T cells than that of controls. The percentage of HLA-DR+ T cells was higher in bone marrow than in peripheral blood of RA, though a slightly lower percentage was detected in bone marrow than in peripheral blood of controls. Thus T cell subsets in bone marrow of RA differ significantly from those of controls. Patients with RA had a higher OKT 4/8 ratio and a higher percentage of HLA-DR+ T cells in bone marrow than controls, suggesting that T cell subsets in bone marrow of RA are in an immunologically activated state and that T cell subsets are affected by rheumatoid inflammation in bone marrow of RA.
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