Clonal analysis of B cells in the synovial membrane of patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Scand J Rheumatol. 2003;32(1):12-8. doi: 10.1080/03009740310000346.


Objective: To investigate the clonal characteristics of B cells in the synovial membranes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

Methods: The clonality of B cells at separate sites of the synovial membrane and other tissues from RA patients were investigated by a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction with a VH framework 3 consensus primer and a subsequent single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis.

Results: Several dominant bands were observed in all synovial membrane samples and some of the dominants bands were common among the 2 or 3 separate regions of each synovial sample. The persistent existence of clonal B cells was observed in metachronous synovial fluid samples.

Conclusion: Infiltrating B cells are oligoclonal and antigen-driven mechanisms may play a role in the generation of clonal B cells in RA synovium. The stable presence of B cell clones in synovial fluid suggests the involvement of these clones in the perpetuation of the chronic inflammation in RA.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / classification*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / classification
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology
  • Clone Cells
  • DNA / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / classification
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • RNA / analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Synovial Membrane / metabolism*


  • RNA
  • DNA