A prospective study of 33 patients with polymyalgia rheumatica/giant cell arteritis (PMR/GCA) was undertaken, firstly, to monitor sequentially peripheral blood CD8+ lymphocyte levels and, secondly, to assess the expression of activation markers on T lymphocyte subsets. The results indicated that there was a significant decrease in absolute numbers and relative percentages of CD8+ T lymphocytes, which returned to normal ranges after approximately 24 months' treatment, and that there was an increased percentage of CD8+ lymphocytes in PMR/GCA which express HLA class II antigens.
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