Background: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by a chronic inflammatory process, primarily involving the synovial membrane of peripheral joints, where T cell activation is found. To address the superantigen stimulation in rheumatoid arthritis, T cell clonality and the expression of activation markers were analyzed.
Methods: To detect TCRB V usage, inverse PCR and sequencing were done. Monoclonal antibodies were used for flow cytometric analysis of TCRBV8 or TCRBV5. As result s, a restricted usage of TCRBV3 gene was detected in synovial lymphocytes from one rheumatoid arthritis patient . However, preferential usage for TCRB V8, which may be one indicator for stimulation by staphylococcal superantigen, was not obvious although general activation of T cells was found as high DR+ percentage in synovial T cells. These data show specific antigen rather than superantigen might involve the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis