Evidence for an antigen-driven immune response in the chronically inflamed synovium

  • Claudia Bearek1 and

    Affiliated with

    • H-J Kim1

      Affiliated with

      Arthritis Res19991(Suppl 1):S09

      DOI: 10.1186/ar23

      Published: 15 November 1999

      Full text

      Recently it has been shown that proinflammatory cytokines, like TNF-alpha and lymphotoxin play a crucial role in the organogenesis of the lymphoid tissue. Thus, during chronic inflammation, in the affected tissue, these cytokines may promote the development of a micro-environment which supports a local immune response. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis large lymphocytic infiltrates are often seen in the synovial tissue. These cell clusters have a characteristic arrangement of T, B and plasma cells. Proliferating B cells are found only centrally in a network of follicular dendritic cells. Using micro-manipulation CD20+ B cells and plasma cells were isolated separately from different parts of single infiltrates. DNA was extracted and the VH/VL gene repertoires determined. The data show that within the network of follicular dendritic cells there is an oligoclonal expansion of B cells. During proliferation V-gene variants are generated by the hypermutation mechanism. The pattern of somatic mutations suggests that both naive and memory B cells become activated in the synovial tissue. Within single infiltrates we did not find identical rearrangements between CD20+ B and plasma cells. Nevertheless, the finding of clonally related plasma cells suggests that these cells underwent terminal differentiation in the synovial tissue. The analysis of individual B cells recovered from synovial tissue opens a new way to determine the specificity of those cells which take part in the local immune reaction.

      Authors’ Affiliations

      Deutsches Rheuma ForschungsZentrum


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