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Trends Immunol. 2001 May;22(5):251-5.

Thymic function and peripheral T-cell homeostasis in rheumatoid arthritis.

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Departments of Medicine and Immunology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


T-cell diversity is generated through the production of new thymic emigrants. Thymic function declines with age, and the T-cell pool is maintained through homeostatic proliferation of naive peripheral T cells. This article discusses the impact of thymic output and peripheral T-cell homeostasis on the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is proposed that thymic output is prematurely compromised in RA patients. A compensatory expansion of peripheral T cells results in a contracted and distorted repertoire, possibly favoring T cells with autoreactive potential. Increased risk of autoimmunity, as a consequence of abnormal T-cell population dynamics, could be a common mechanism in chronic inflammatory diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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