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Clin Exp Immunol. 1995 Jul;101(1):18-24.

Large granular lymphocyte expansions in patients with Felty's syndrome: analysis using anti-T cell receptor V beta-specific monoclonal antibodies.

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  • 1Division of Medicine, UMDS, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


Felty's syndrome (FS), the association of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and idiopathic neutropenia, remains an unexplained phenomenon. HLA-DR4 is found in over 90% of cases. Patients with FS may have a T cell lymphocytosis of CD3+CD8+CD57+ large granular lymphocytes (LGL syndrome). In this study of 47 patients with FS, 19% had clear evidence for LGL expansions, while in total 42% had variable evidence for the LGL syndrome using currently available techniques. Of these T cell expansions, 76% were clonal, as demonstrated by Southern blotting and analysis with T cell receptor (TCR) beta chain constant region probes. This technique may fail to detect clonal populations in some patients. Cytofluorographic analysis using antibodies specific for TCR V beta chains identified patients with clonal LGL expansions with results comparable to those obtained with Southern blotting. No evidence for shared V beta usage among expansions from different patients was seen. The role of LGL in RA and FS is currently unclear, but this technique offers a practical and accessible means of identifying patients with LGL expansions, as a starting point for further investigation.

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