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J Clin Invest. 1991 Aug;88(2):546-52.

Upregulated expression and function of VLA-4 fibronectin receptors on human activated T cells in rheumatoid arthritis.

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Seccione de Reumatología, Hospital de la Princesa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.


The VLA-4 (CD49d/CD29) integrin is a cell surface receptor involved in the interaction of lymphoid cells with both extracellular matrix (ECM) and endothelial cells. We have investigated the expression and function of VLA-4 fibronectin (FN) receptors on T cells localized in the inflammed synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A high proportion of T cells in both synovial membrane (SM) and synovial fluid (SF) expressed the activation antigens AIM (CD69) and gp95/85 (Ea2) as well as an increased number of VLA-4 alpha and beta 1 adhesion molecules, as compared with peripheral blood (PB) T cells from the same patients. Furthermore, the majority of these activated SF T cells were able to adhere to a 38-kD FN proteolytic fragment containing the connecting segment-1 (CS-1) specifically through VLA-4 receptors, whereas a significantly lower proportion of PB T cells displayed this capacity. Therefore, our results show that activated T cells selectively localize at sites of tissue injury in RA disease and provide evidence for the in vivo regulation of the expression and function of the VLA-4 integrin. This regulatory mechanism may enable T cells either to facilitate migration or to persist at sites of inflammation.

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