Pathogenesis and mechanisms of inflammation in the childhood rheumatic diseases

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 1998 Sep;10(5):459-67. doi: 10.1097/00002281-199809000-00011.


The presence of CD4+ cells in the synovium of children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis has led to the generally accepted hypothesis that aberrant activation or regulation of acquired immunity is central to the pathogenesis of this family of diseases; however, this hypothesis remains unproven, and, indeed, a specific role for T cells in the process of chronic synovitis in rheumatoid disease has yet to be identified for either adults or children. In contrast, processes associated with innate immunity are undeniably involved in the pathophysiology of chronic synovitis in both rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The presence of neutrophils in the synovial fluid, complement activation, and immune complex accumulation in the synovial fluid and serum all indicate an active inflammatory process. It is reasonable to hypothesize, therefore, that there are important clues to the cause of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to be gleaned from a more careful study of inflammation or innate immunity. This review will focus on the roles of complement, immune complexes, and the vascular endothelium in the pathogenesis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. In so doing, it will reexamine the dogma of the central role of the T cell in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis disease pathogenesis and offer new paradigms with which to understand this and other rheumatic diseases of childhood.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Juvenile / immunology
  • Child
  • Dermatomyositis / etiology
  • Dermatomyositis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / etiology*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / immunology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / physiopathology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology