T cell receptor V beta usage in rheumatoid nodules: marked oligoclonality among IL-2 expanded lymphocytes

Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1993 Jul;68(1):29-34. doi: 10.1006/clin.1993.1090.


Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which is characterized by chronic polyarthritis and joint destruction as well as by extra-articular manifestations, typically including the appearance of rheumatoid nodules. Although the pathogenesis of the disease is unknown, substantial evidence suggests that it is T cell-mediated. In contrast to experimental models, the disease-mediating T cells in the human situation have never been isolated or identified. We expanded T lymphocytes from human rheumatoid nodules by IL-2 stimulation and observed a marked oligoclonality among these expanded lymphocytes. This tendency towards oligoclonality was not seen in IL-2-expanded lymphocytes from peripheral blood. We hypothesize that this oligoclonal expansion reflects a clonally restricted in situ preactivation of lymphocytes and that precisely these preactivated cells are involved in the pathogenesis of the rheumatic process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • CD4 Antigens / analysis
  • CD8 Antigens / analysis
  • Clone Cells / immunology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / analysis*
  • Rheumatoid Nodule / pathology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology


  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta