The migration of intravenously administered adjuvant sensitized T lymphocytes to the knee synovium of recipient rats undergoing passive adjuvant arthritis has been followed. Using fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled adjuvant-sensitized T cells and anticollagen IgG, the present studies demonstrate the presence of fluorescent cells in the inflamed knee synovium of recipient rats undergoing passive arthritis. Proliferation studies indicate that synovial cells from these rats respond to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MT). Since cross-reactivity between Mycobacterial antigens and cartilage proteoglycans has been previously demonstrated, it is suggested that adjuvant-sensitized T cells that are injected into naive rats migrate to the synovium, proliferate in response to cartilage proteoglycan, and initiate passive arthritis.
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