Abnormal distribution of the helper-inducer and suppressor-inducer T-lymphocyte subsets in the rheumatoid joint

Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1987 Nov;45(2):252-8. doi: 10.1016/0090-1229(87)90040-7.


T lymphocytes can be divided into two main phenotypic populations, CD4 and CD8. These can be further subdivided into 2H4, 4B4, or UCHL1 subsets by appropriate monoclonal antibodies. We have investigated these subsets in the synovial fluid of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and have found (i) a virtual absence of CD4+ 2H4+ and the marked reduction of CD8+ 2H4+ T cells; (ii) a marked increase of CD4+ 4B4+ and CD8+ 4B4+ T cells; and (iii) a marked increase of CD4+ UCHL1+ and CD8+ UCHL1+ T cells compared with peripheral blood. Although the functions of the CD8 subsets are not known, the virtual absence of CD4+ 2H4+ suppressor-inducer T cells and the marked increase of CD4+ 4B4+ helper-inducer T cells and of CD4+ UCHL1+ memory T cells may help to explain the many known functional immunological properties of synovial T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / analysis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / analysis
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / classification*
  • Phenotype
  • Synovial Fluid / pathology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / pathology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / pathology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte