Activation of Synovial Fluid T Lymphocytes by 60-Kd Heat-Shock Proteins in Patients with Inflammatory synovitis
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OBJECTIVE: Synovial fluid lymphocytes from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and with other forms of inflammatory synovitis demonstrate enhanced proliferative responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens, in particular, the 65-kd heat-shock protein. There is a high degree of homology between the human and the mycobacterial 60-kd family of heat-shock proteins. These studies were performed to determine if the enhanced response to the mycobacterial 65-kd heat-shock protein was due to cross-reactivity of an immune response generated against the human homolog. METHODS: These studies were performed by in vitro culture of isolated synovial fluid mononuclear cells with crude and purified antigens. RESULTS: The synovial fluid lymphocytes of a majority of patients with rheumatoid arthritis recognized the mycobacterial 65-kd heat-shock protein, as evidenced by T cell proliferation. In contrast, only 18% of all samples tested responded to a highly purified recombinant human 60-kd heat-shock protein. With only one exception, proliferative responses to the mycobacterial antigen were stronger than those to the human homolog. The proliferative responses generated against mycobacterial 65-kd heat-shock proteins from different sources were highly correlated. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that the enhanced proliferative response to the mycobacterial 65-kd heat-shock protein noted in most patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of inflammatory synovitis is not due to cross-reactivity of an immune response directed against the human heat-shock protein.
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