Autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis. An approach via a study of B lymphocytes

Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1987 Aug;13(2):319-38.


In this article the relationship between the cellular elements of the immune response and inflammation are examined with reference to the B lymphocyte repertoire. Evidence is presented that, in addition to an environment in the joint that favors localization and activation of auto-reactive B lymphocytes, the circulating B lymphocyte pool in rheumatoid arthritis is abnormally enriched in cells that bear a receptor for mouse erythrocytes and possess CD5 antigen. B lymphocytes with these novel phenotypic markers secrete autoantibodies and are found in abundance in fetal lymphoid tissues and cord blood; analogous cells in the mouse belong to a distinct lineage and are implicated in allotype- and idiotype-restricted interactions. It is postulated that a subset of B lymphocytes is of primary importance in the etiopathogenesis of rheumatoid disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / etiology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Rheumatoid Factor / biosynthesis
  • Synovial Membrane / immunology


  • Rheumatoid Factor