Altered T Cell Differentiation in Patients with Early Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Alla Skapenko1,

    Affiliated with

    • Jörg Wendler1,

      Affiliated with

      • Peter E Lipsky1,

        Affiliated with

        • Joachim R Kalden1 and

          Affiliated with

          • Hendrik Schulze-Koops1

            Affiliated with

            Arthritis Res19991(Suppl 1):S08

            DOI: 10.1186/ar22

            Published: 15 November 1999

            Full text

            Chronic inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is likely to be driven by activated Th1 cells without sufficient Th2 cell differentiation to down-modulate inflammation [1,2]. To test whether, in RA, Th cells express an alteration in their ability to differentiate into effector cells, we investigated Th cell differentiation in patients with early untreated RA and in age-and sex-matched controls in vitro. All patients had active RA with symptoms of the disease for 6 weeks to 12 months. A cell culture system was used that permitted the differentiation of Th effectors from resting memory T cells by short-term priming [3]. No difference in the cytokine secretion profile of freshly isolated T cells was detected between patients and controls. However, marked differences were found in the response to priming. Th2 cells could be induced in all healthy individuals by priming with anti-CD28 in the absence of TCR ligation. By contrast, priming under those conditions resulted in Th2 differentiation in only 9/24 RA patients. The addition of exogenous IL-4 could overcome the apparent Th2 differentiation defect in seven patients but was without effect in the remaining eight patients. In all patients, a marked decrease in IL-2 producing cells and a significant increase in well-differentiated Th1 cells that produced IFN-γ but no IL-2 was evident after priming with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 [4]. The data suggest that CD4+ memory T cells from patients with early untreated RA manifest an intrinsic abnormality in their ability to differentiate into specific cytokine producing effector cells, which might contribute to the characteristic Th1 dominated chronic (auto)immune inflammation in RA.

            Authors’ Affiliations

            (1)
            University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

            References

            1. Schulze-Koops H, Lipsky PE, Kavanaugh AF, Davis LS: Elevated Th1-or Th0-like cytokine mRNA in peripheral circulation of patients with rheumatoid arthritis: modulation by treatment with Anti-ICAM-1 correlates with clinical benefit. J Immunol 1995, 155:5029–5037.PubMed
            2. Simon AK, Seipelt E, Sieper J: Divergent T-cell cytokine patterns in inflammatory arthritis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1994, 91:8562–8566.View ArticlePubMed
            3. Schulze-Koops H, Lipsky PE, Davis LS: Human memory T cell differentiation into Th2-like effector cells is dependent on IL-4 and CD28 stimulation and inhibited by TCR ligation. Eur J Immunol 1998, 28:2517–2529.View ArticlePubMed
            4. Skapenko A, Wendler J, Lipsky PE, Kalden JR, Schulze-Koops H: Altered memory T cell differentiation in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis. J Immunol 1999, 163:491–499.PubMed

            Copyright

            © Current Science Ltd 2000

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