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Long term persistent accumulation of CD8+ T cells in synovial fluid of rheumatoid arthritis
  1. Kayo Masuko-Hongoa,
  2. Taichi Sekinea,
  3. Shinichiro Uedaa,
  4. Tetsuji Kobataa,
  5. Kazuhiko Yamamotob,
  6. Kusuki Nishiokaa,
  7. Tomohiro Katoa
  1. aRheumatology, Immunology and Genetics Programme, Institute of Medical Science, St Marianna University, Kawasaki, Japan , bMedical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Oita, Japan
  1. Dr K Masuko-Hongo, Rheumatology, Immunology and Genetics Programme, Institute of Medical Science, St Marianna University, 2-16-1 Sugao, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 216, Japan.


OBJECTIVE To characterise the type and kinetics of T cell clones in synovial lesions of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS Mononuclear cells from serial samples of synovial fluid (SF) and peripheral blood from nine RA patients were separated phenotypically using antibody coated magnetic beads. After mRNA preparation, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed to amplify V-D(N)-J (that is, the third complementarity determining, CDR3) regions of their T cell receptor beta chain genes. This was followed by single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis to detect the clonotypes of accumulating T cells. Amino acid sequences of the dominant clones were also determined.

RESULTS Although peripheral T cells were heterogeneous, accumulation of oligoclonal T cells was detected in SF. The predominant accumulating clone was the CD8 subset, which was persistently present in serial samples obtained over almost one year of follow up. A proportion of these cells expressed CD25 or CD45RO, or both, suggesting they are ‘memory’ clones.

CONCLUSION The persistent presence of CD8+ T cell clones in RA joints indicates that they may be involved in the perpetuation of the chronic inflammatory process in RA joints.

  • CD8+ T cells
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • T cell clonality
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