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Ann Med. 1991 Aug;23(3):219-23.

Cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Arrhenius Laboratories for Natural Sciences, University of Stockholm, Sweden.


Joints with rheumatoid arthritis are a site for chronic inflammation involving T cells, B cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. When these cells interact cytokines are likely to be produced. The presence of different cytokines in the synovial fluid of patients with rheumatoid arthritis has been studied and the macrophage derived cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, TNF-alpha, TGF-beta and PDGF have usually been detected in large quantities, whereas T cell produced cytokines (IL-2, IL-4, IFN-gamma) are absent or present in small quantities. IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-alpha have several functions which suggest that they participate in the chronic disease process of rheumatoid arthritis, such as increasing production of eicosanoid, collagenase and prostaglandin E2. Many synovial B cells are activated and produce large amounts of immunoglobulins. We searched for a B cell stimulatory activity in rheumatoid synovial fluid and found a B cell differentiation and helper activity. Cytokines in the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis seem central for the propagation of the disease process. Specific intervention in cytokine production or in its effects might help to relieve symptoms in rheumatoid patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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