Objective-To investigate whether identical T cell clonotypes accumulate in
multiple rheumatoid joints, the clonality of T cells that had infiltrated i
nto synovial tissue (ST) samples simultaneously obtained from multiple join
ts of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was analysed.
Methods-T cell receptor (TCR) beta gene transcripts, amplified by reverse t
ranscription-polymerase chain reaction from ST and peripheral blood lymphoc
ytes of five RA patients, were subjected to single strand conformation poly
morphism analysis and DNA sequencing.
Results-Approximately 40% of accumulated T cell clonotypes found in one joi
nt of a patient were found in multiple joints in the same patient. Furtherm
ore, identical amino acid sequences were found in TCR beta junctional regio
ns of these clonotypes from different patients with at least one HLA molecu
Conclusions-The T cell clonotypes accumulating in multiple rheumatoid joint
s may be involved in the perpetuation of polyarthritis by reacting to antig
ens common to these multiple joints.