In vitro lymphocyte adhesion to, and selective radiosulphate uptake by, endothelial cells has been demonstrated in diseased synovium of patients with rheumatoid disease, osteoarthritis, and the peripheral arthropathy associated with ankylosing spondylitis and ulcerative colitis. These characteristics have been described previously in endothelial cells functionally specialised for promoting lymphocyte traffic from blood to lymph node parenchyma. It is suggested that these observations indicate that some synovial vessels may be responsible, at least in part, for the selective accumulation of lymphocytes in the tissue. Manipulation of the development of this type of vessel may offer a novel way of influencing the progress of inflammatory arthropathies.
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