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J Immunol. 2001 Jan 1;166(1):650-5.

Lymphoid chemokine B cell-attracting chemokine-1 (CXCL13) is expressed in germinal center of ectopic lymphoid follicles within the synovium of chronic arthritis patients.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Osaka University Medical School, Suita, Osaka, Japan.


A unique feature in inflammatory tissue of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the formation of ectopic lymphoid aggregates with germinal center (GC)-like structures that can be considered to contribute to the pathogenesis of RA, because local production of the autoantibody, rheumatoid factor, is thought to be a causative factor in tissue damage. However, the factors governing the formation of GC in RA are presently unknown. To begin to address this, the expression of B cell attracting chemokine (BCA-1) (CXCL13), a potent chemoattractant of B cells, was examined in the synovium of patients with RA or with osteoarthritis (OA). Expression of BCA-1 mRNA was detected in all RA samples, but in only one of five OA samples. Lymphoid follicles were observed in four of seven RA samples and in two of eight OA samples, and in most of them BCA-1 protein was detected in GC. BCA-1 was not detected in tissues lacking lymphoid follicles. Notably, BCA-1 was detected predominantly in follicular dendritic cells in GC. CD20-positive B cells were aggregated in regions of BCA-1 expression, but not T cells or macrophages. These data suggest that BCA-1 produced by follicular dendritic cells may attract B cells and contribute to the formation of GC-like structures in chronic arthritis.

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