FOXP3 identifies regulatory CD25bright CD4+ T cells in rheumatic joints

Scand J Immunol. 2006 Jun;63(6):444-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.2006.001755.x.


Regulatory T cells have recently been implicated in a number of human diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. To investigate whether the presence of CD25+CD4+ regulatory T cells is a general finding in arthritic joints, synovial fluid of patients with different rheumatic diseases such as undifferentiated arthritides, systemic rheumatic diseases and reactive arthritis were investigated for the presence of such cells. In 95% of the patients, a higher frequency of CD25(bright)CD4+ T cells was found in synovial fluid as compared with peripheral blood. Both in vitro suppression experiments and FOXP3 mRNA analysis confirmed these cells to be natural regulatory T cells. Together with our previous data, we conclude that arthritic joints, irrespective of precise diagnosis and disease duration, are enriched with natural regulatory T cells. These results suggest that suppressor cells migrate to and/or multiply at the sites of inflammation as part of the immune responses' effort to combat injurious inflammation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis / immunology
  • Arthritis / metabolism
  • Arthritis / pathology
  • Arthritis, Reactive / immunology
  • Arthritis, Reactive / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Reactive / pathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Female
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / immunology*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / metabolism
  • Rheumatic Diseases / pathology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / immunology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / metabolism
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / pathology
  • Synovial Fluid / cytology
  • Synovial Fluid / immunology*
  • Synovial Fluid / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / pathology


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2