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Lancet. 1987 Dec 26;2(8574):1486-8.

Reduced B-cell galactosyltransferase activity in rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Rheumatology Research, University College, London.


Autosensitisation to IgG may be important in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and could be related to reduced glycosylation of the oligosaccharides in the C gamma 2 region of serum IgG. The activity of galactosyltransferase, the enzyme that catalyses the addition of galactose to the oligosaccharide chains, was measured in the circulating B cells of seventeen patients with classic rheumatoid arthritis. It was significantly lower than that of a group of eleven controls (p less than 0.001) or of nine age-matched controls (p less than 0.001). In contrast, the enzyme activity of the T cells was within the range of that in nine age-matched controls, and enzyme activity in monocyte-rich mononuclear-cell populations was higher than in controls, possibly reflecting stimulation of the monocytes in rheumatoid arthritis. These findings suggest that galactosyltransferase may regulate the degree of glycosylation during IgG synthesis and could therefore be implicated in the rheumatoid inflammatory process.

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