Our aim was to elucidate the relative amount of the different splice forms of FoxP3 mRNA in CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood (PB) compared to synovial fluid (SF) in RA and PsA patients. FoxP3 mRNA was measured using a quantitative real-time PCR method. CD4+ T cells were isolated from 17 paired samples of PB and SF from RA and PsA patients, and PB from 10 controls. FoxP3fl and FoxP3Δ2 mRNA was significantly increased (6.7 and 2.1-fold, respectively) in PB CD4+ T cells from RA patients compared to controls. FoxP3fl and Δ2 mRNA in SF CD4+ T cells was increased compared to controls in sero-negative RA and PsA, but not in sero-positive RA patients, who had a high FoxP3 expression in both PB and SF. The FoxP3Δ2Δ7 mRNA was barely detectable in patient samples, and not at all in healthy individuals. We provide evidence of an increased expression of FoxP3 splice forms in synovial CD4+ T cells from RA patients. A skewed, high expression profile of FoxP3, but not CTLA-4, in sero-negative RA and PsA, indicates that synovial CD4+ T cells may represent unique subsets of T cells which have been induced locally or selectively recruited to the joint.
© 2011 The Authors. APMIS © 2011 APMIS.