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Volume 40, Number 5, October 2007

Role of new population of peripheral CD11c+CD8+ T cells and CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells during acute and remission stages in rheumatoid arthritis patients

Jun-Kai Kao, Yin-Tzu Hsue, Ching-Yuang Lin
Department of Pediatrics, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua; 2Institute of Medical Research, Chang Jung Christian University, Tainan; 3Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua; 4Children’s Medical Center, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung; and 5Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

Received: June 19, 2006    Revised: September 20, 2006    Accepted: October 3, 2006   


Corresponding author:

Dr. Ching-Yuang Lin, Superintendent, Children’s Medical Center, China Medical University Hospital, No.2, Yuh-Der Road, Taichung 40402, Taiwan. E-mail: Dr. Ching-Yuang Lin This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



Background and purpose: 

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a CD4+-dependent chronic systemic inflammatory disease with autoimmune features. Autoreactive CD4+ T-cell activation can result in autoimmune diseases. One of the key regulators is the CD4+CD25high regulatory T (Treg) cell. In an animal arthritis model, CD11c+CD8+ T cells were found to be elevated, and could suppress pathogenic CD4+ T cells after cross-linking with CD137. The purpose of this study was to compare the expression of CD137, CD4+CD25high Treg cells, and CD11c+CD8+ in the peripheral blood T lymphocytes of RA patients during active and remissive states, and evaluate the correlation with disease activity.




Thirty nine RA patients treated at the rheumatology outpatient clinic at the Changhua Christian Hospital were assessed clinically for disease activity and classified as either highly active or remissive by the Disease Activity Score 28. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from these patients and compared against normal controls.




The presence of CD11c+CD8+ T cells or the expression of CD137 molecules in peripheral blood cells was not related to disease activity. In contrast, CD4+CD25high Treg cell levels were increased significantly in patients with active RA compared with patients with remissive RA or controls (p<0.05). These lymphocytes were intact, without evidence of apoptosis.




Our results indicate that CD4+CD25high Treg cells play an important role in modulating RA disease activity and can serve as a parameter of disease activity.



Key words:

Apoptosis; Arthritis, rheumatoid; CD4-positive T-lymphocytes; CD8-positive T-lymphocytes; T-Lymphocytes, regulatory



J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2007;40:419-427.