T lymphocytes are a major component of the inflammatory infiltrate in rheumatoid synovitis, but their exact role in the disease process is not understood. Functional activities of synovial T cells were examined by adoptive transfer experiments in human synovium-SCID mouse chimeras. Adoptive transfer of tissue-derived autologous CD8+ T cells induced a marked reduction in the activity of lesional T cells and macrophages. Injection of CD8+, but not CD4+, T cells decreased the production of tissue IFN-γ, IL- 1β, and TNF-α by >90%. The down-regulatory effect of adoptively transferred CD8+ T cells was not associated with depletion of synovial CD3+ T cells or synovial CD68+ macrophages, and it could be blocked by Abs against IL-16, a CD8+ T cell-derived cytokine. In the synovial tissue, CD8+ T cells were the major source of IL-16, a natural ligand of the CD4 molecule that can anergize CD4-expressing cells. The anti-inflammatory activity of IL-16 in rheumatoid synovitis was confirmed by treating synovium-SCID mouse chimeras with IL-16. Therapy for 14 days with recombinant human IL-16 significantly inhibited the production of IFN-γ, IL-1β, and TNF-α in the synovium. We propose that tissue-infiltrating CD8+ T cells in rheumatoid synovitis have anti- inflammatory activity that is at least partially mediated by the release of IL-16. Spontaneous production of IL-16 in synovial lesions impairs the functional activity of CD4+ T cells but is insufficient to completely abrogate their stimulation. Supplemental therapy with IL-16 may be a novel and effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|State||Published - Apr 1 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy