The role of autoreactive T cell in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and implications for T cell targeted vaccine therapy

Minerva Med. 2015 Jun;106(3):157-67.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterised by chronic inflammation of joint synovial tissue and subsequent destruction of associated bone, cartilage and soft tissues. RA is commonly treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), glucocorticoids and biologic inhibitors of TNF, IL-1, IL-6, T cells and B cells. The use of these drugs especially biological agents has greatly improved the treatment of RA. Although the pathogenesis of RA remains unclear, T-cell mediated immune response is considered as a critical contributor in RA initiation and progression. It has been hypothesized that arthritogenic T cells (autoreactive T cells) escaping negative selection can recognize arthritogenic antigens and lead to autoimmunity and tissue destruction. Due to the important role of autoreactive T cells in the mechanisms of RA, they might be a novel therapeutic target. Many vaccines targeting autoreactive T cells which can establish immunological self tolerance have been developed. The efficacy of these vaccines has been justified in experimental models of RA and clinical trials. Inhibition of autoreactive T cell response by vaccination might provide a new treatment opinion in RA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Collagen Type II / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Active*
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Collagen Type II