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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2001 Oct;40(10):1120-5.

T-cell responses to viral, bacterial and protozoan antigens in rheumatoid inflammation. Selective migration of T cells to synovial tissue.

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The National Hospital, Institute of Immunology, Department of Rheumatology Research, Oslo, Norway.



To identify any preferential or selective migration of T-cell specificities to inflamed tissues of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.


Lymphocytes from peripheral blood (PB) and synovial tissue (ST) were isolated from RA patients and stimulated with a panel of crude antigen preparations from 18 bacterial, protozoan and viral sources. Proliferative responses of the T lymphocytes to each antigen and group of antigens were compared in PB and ST. Antigen-specific T-cell clones were developed and their migratory capacities towards synovial chemokines were compared.


ST-derived T cells showed a small but significantly higher stimulation index (SI) to the group of intestinal bacteria compared with PB T cells. Conversely, responses of ST-derived T cells to Acanthamoeba polyphaga (AP) were both profoundly and significantly lower compared with PB-derived T cells. The viral antigens as a whole gave comparable reactivities in blood and ST. The migratory capacity of AP-specific T-cell clones towards chemokines produced by ST was profoundly poorer compared with Campylobacter jejuni- and herpes simplex virus-specific T-cell clones.


The results indicate a selective migration of T cells of given specificities to the inflamed rheumatoid synovium.

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