Leukapheresis in rheumatoid arthritis. Association of clinical improvement with reversal of anergy

Arthritis Rheum. 1983 Sep;26(9):1076-84. doi: 10.1002/art.1780260904.


In order to study the clinical and immunologic effects of a brief course of leukapheresis, 14 patients with clinically similar rheumatoid arthritis were segregated into 2 subgroups. Group A (7 patients) had subnormal lymphocyte tritiated thymidine incorporation to soluble antigens. After a brief course of leukapheresis, 6 of these 7 patients demonstrated substantial clinical improvement associated with significantly enhanced lymphocyte tritiated thymidine incorporation to soluble antigens. In contrast, none of the 7 patients in group B (normal immune functions) demonstrated similar changes in articular indices or lymphocyte proliferation. Thus, clinical improvement induced in a subset of rheumatoid arthritis patients appears to reflect modulation of function, and not simply immunosuppression.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukapheresis*
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitogens / immunology
  • Mumps Vaccine / immunology
  • Skin Tests
  • Tetanus Toxoid / immunology
  • Thymidine / metabolism
  • Tuberculin Test


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Mitogens
  • Mumps Vaccine
  • Tetanus Toxoid
  • Thymidine