In the human immune system, very late antigen 1 (VLA-1), a putative collagen receptor, is expressed on the surface of T lymphocytes that have undergone mitogenic or antigenic stimulation. A new VLA-1-specific monoclonal antibody, 1B3.1, was used to probe the expression and function of VLA-1 on T lymphocytes in patients with arthritis. Synovial mononuclear cells from the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis or other joint diseases contained 32.9±13.8% 1B3.1-positive cells (42.8±10.4% in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 28 ± 12.6% in non rheumatoid patients). In the peripheral blood, patients with active rheumatoid arthritis expressed VLA-1 on 11.7±6.0% of their mononuclear cells, compared to 1.9±1.5% in controls (P<0.001). Using dual fluorescence analysis, virtually all the 1B3.1-positive synovial cells were CD3+ T lymphocytes and included both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. When 1B3.1-expressing synovial mononuclear cells or in vitro activated T lymphocytes were triggered with anti-CD3 antibodies, marked augmentation of their proliferation occurred if they were simultaneously cross-linked with mab 1B3.1. Collagen type IV, a putative ligand of VLA-1, also augmented T-cell proliferation to anti-CD3. The data suggest that the VLA-1 molecule could play an important role in the pathophysiology of arthritis by modulating T-cell activation in these diseases.
- T lymphocytes
- very late antigen 1 (VLA-1)