New insights into the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2000 Jun;39 Suppl 1:3-8. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.rheumatology.a031491.


T lymphocytes play a critical role in the inflammatory process of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Studies in a new animal model of RA, created by implanting human inflamed synovium into SCID mice, have confirmed that the production of matrix-degrading enzymes and pro-inflammatory cytokines is ultimately under T-cell control. T-cell dysfunction in RA patients also alters T-cell dynamics, resulting in profound abnormalities in T-cell pool composition. The cause and consequences of altered T-cell dynamics in RA are not yet understood, but factors determining T-cell homeostasis include the generation of new T cells, loss of T cells during immune responses and self-renewal of T cells within the system. Understanding the mechanisms that govern the formation of the T-cell pool in RA emphasizes the dynamic and quantitative aspects of lymphocyte behaviour in RA and has profound therapeutic implications when devising strategies to counteract T-cell dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / etiology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Cytokines / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Synovial Membrane / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Cytokines