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J Rheumatol. 1995 Jun;22(6):1020-4.

The value of percentage of CD8+ T lymphocyte levels in distinguishing polymyalgia rheumatica from early rheumatoid arthritis.

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United Medical School, Division of Medicine, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.



To determine whether the low absolute numbers and percentages of CD8 positive T cells in the circulation of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) could be used as a new diagnostic criterion for the disease.


The % CD4 and CD8 positive T lymphocyte sub-populations were measured in 37 patients with PRM before treatment and during steroid treatment over the subsequent 2 years, in 21 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and in 27 normal (N) control subjects.


During the study, 10 patients, who were initially diagnosed as PMR, were reclassified as having had a myalgic onset of RA (PMR-RA), according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria for the diagnosis of RA. No decreased %CD8+ T lymphocyte subset had been observed in these patients at presentation, before steroid therapy, or during treatment with steroids when compared with the RA and N groups.


The measurement of %CD8+ T cell subset may provide a simple method for determining whether patients presenting with myalgia are "true" PMR or are destined to develop RA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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