CD4+ T cells have been long known to play an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but the specific cell populations and states that drive the disease have been challenging to identify with low dimensional single cell data and bulk assays. The advent of high dimensional single cell technologies-like single cell RNA-seq or mass cytometry-has offered promise to defining key populations, but brings new methodological and statistical challenges. Recent single cell profiling studies have revealed a broad diversity of cell types among CD4+ T cells, identifying novel populations that are expanded or altered in RA. Here, we will review recent findings on CD4+ T cell heterogeneity and RA that have come from single cell profiling studies and discuss the best practices for conducting these studies.
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