Accumulation of multiple T cell clonotypes in the synovial lesions of patients with rheumatoid arthritis revealed by a novel clonality analysis

Int Immunol. 1992 Nov;4(11):1219-23. doi: 10.1093/intimm/4.11.1219.


T cell activation in the characteristic synovial lesions of rheumatoid arthritis may play a major role in the pathogenesis of this autoimmune disease. Analysis of T cell clonal diversity in these sites remains equivocal. Using the PCR and subsequent single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis it is possible to assess the degree of junctional diversity in the TCR with minimal selection bias. Concentrating on the beta-chain of the TCR, a paucity of clonotypic T cell expansion is demonstrated in the peripheral blood of healthy individuals. After polyclonal stimulation in vitro (with concanavalin A or phytohemagglutinin) this pattern does not change. In contrast, some T cell clonotypes appear following in vitro stimulation with purified protein derivative. Analysis of the peripheral blood, synovial fluid, and synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis indicated many dominant T cell clonotypes. These data argue for a clonally diverse T cell response in the affected tissues of rheumatoid arthritic subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology*
  • Clone Cells / pathology
  • Gene Rearrangement, beta-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Synovial Fluid / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / pathology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta