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Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Oct;54(10):3135-43.

CTLA-4IG suppresses reactive oxygen species by preventing synovial adherent cell-induced inactivation of Rap1, a Ras family GTPASE mediator of oxidative stress in rheumatoid arthritis T cells.

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  • 1Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Oxidative stress contributes to the inflammatory properties of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial T lymphocytes. This study was undertaken to investigate the mechanisms leading to production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress in RA synovial T lymphocytes.


ROS production in T lymphocytes from the peripheral blood (PB) of healthy donors and from the PB and synovial fluid (SF) of RA patients was measured by ROS-dependent fluorescence of 6-carboxy-2',7'-dichlorofluorescein. Rap1 GTPase activation was assessed by activation-specific probe precipitation. Proliferation of RA PB and SF T lymphocytes was assayed by 3H-thymidine incorporation. In some experiments, RA PB T cells were preincubated with autologous SF or with PB or SF adherent cells. Experiments were performed in the absence or presence of transwell membranes or CTLA-4Ig fusion proteins. Short- and long-term stimulations of healthy donor PB T lymphocytes were performed with inflammatory cytokines, in the absence or presence of activating anti-CD28 antibodies.


T lymphocyte ROS production and Rap1 inactivation were mediated by cell-cell contact with RA synovial adherent cells, and this correlated with T cell mitogenic hyporesponsiveness. CTLA4-Ig blockade of synovial adherent cell signaling to CD28 T cells reversed the inhibition of Rap1 activity and prevented induction of ROS. Introduction of active RapV12 into T cells also prevented induction of ROS production. Coincubation of T cells with stimulating anti-CD28 antibodies and inflammatory cytokines synergistically increased T cell ROS production.


Cell-cell contact between T cells and RA synovial adherent cells mediates Rap1 inactivation and subsequent ROS production in T lymphocytes following exposure to inflammatory cytokines. This process can be blocked by CTLA4-Ig fusion protein.

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