Restricted cytokine expression in rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 1993 Jul;36(7):901-10. doi: 10.1002/art.1780360706.


Objective: To determine the cytokine profile of the phenotypically activated T cell in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovium.

Methods: Interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-2 receptor (IL-2R), IL-6, IL-4, and interferon-gamma (IFN gamma) gene expression was examined in T cells from freshly isolated synovial fluids (SF) and synovial tissues (ST) from patients with RA. Estimates of baseline expression were determined using unstimulated peripheral blood (PB) T cells from healthy individuals. The corresponding positive controls were phytohemagglutinin-activated tonsil T cells.

Results: In studies of paired PB and SF T cell samples from 17 RA patients, IL-2 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in only 1 PB and 3 SF samples were more than 2 standard deviations above the mean of levels in unstimulated PB from healthy donors. Similarly, only 5 PB and 7 SF samples exhibited elevated IL-2R mRNA levels. IFN gamma gene expression was not detected in any of the paired RA PB or SF samples. Fractionated T cells from 12 RA ST were screened with similar results: Only 1 of 12 samples exhibited IL-2 mRNA levels more than 2 standard deviations above levels in baseline controls. IL-2R mRNA levels were low or not detected, and IFN gamma mRNA was absent. Subsequent studies showed that IL-4 and IL-6 gene expression levels were also low in RA tissues compared with tonsil T cell-positive controls.

Conclusion: These data provide evidence for restricted cytokine expression in the T cell population in RA tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / genetics
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology
  • Interleukin-2 / genetics
  • Interleukin-2 / physiology
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-4 / physiology
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Actins
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma