Analyses of lymphocytes from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Occurrence of interfering cold-reactive antilymphocyte antibodies.

Research paper by R J RJ Winchester, J B JB Winfield, F F Siegal, P P Wernet, Z Z Bentwich, H G HG Kunkel

Indexed on: 01 Nov '74Published on: 01 Nov '74Published in: The Journal of clinical investigation


Large percentages of the lymphocytes from some patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus were densely covered with Ig demonstrable by immunofluorescence, which was occasionally present in the form of caps. The amount and character of the Ig staining depended largely on the procedures used in the isolation and washing of the lymphocytes. Cold-reactive antilymphocyte antibodies present in many sera wre primarily responsible for these variations. Overnight culture of the lymphocytes proved to be an efficient procedure for the removal of adsorbed antibody. Some evidence was also obtained for the presence of circulating immune complexes and exogenous rheumatoid factor molecules on the lymphocyte surface. Thus on freshly isolated cells the demonstration of surface Ig proved to an unreliable marker of bone marrow-derived (B) cells in these disease: the actual percent of B cells with intrinsic surface Ig was often markedly decreased. In patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, this reduction was in agreement with the low numbers of cells that had a receptor for aggregated IgG. The mean percentage of thymus-derived (T) cells in both diseases was slightly greater than the normal level.The concentrations of lymphocytes in joint fluids from patients with rheumatoid arthritis were often greater than levels found in blood. T cells primarily accounted for this increase. The T cells typically formed unusually dense rosettes with sheep erythrocytes. B lymphocytes were proportionally much diminished. Evidence was obtained for the existence of a major joint fluid lymphocyte population that lacked all assayed surface markers.