Fluorescence polarisation of 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene was used to study the lymphocyte membrane in rheumatoid arthritis. The increase of polarisation value in the patients (n = 27) compared with healthy controls (n = 32) suggests a decrease of membrane fluidity. Moreover, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and plasma fibrinogen concentrations were positively correlated with lymphocyte fluorescence polarisation values (r = 0.66 and r = 0.76 respectively). The results suggest that the changes in lymphocyte membrane fluidity could be involved in the pathogenetic mechanism of rheumatoid arthritis.
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