The purpose of this investigation was to determine the proportion of IgM Fc receptor bearing T lymphocytes (Tμ) and IgG Fc receptor bearing T lymphocytes (Tγ) in the peripheral blood of patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). Peripheral lymophocytes from 20 patients with JRA and 20 normal controls were studied. Patients with JRA were classified into active and inactive groups, with 8 patients in the former and 12 patients in the latter. In 4 patients, methylprednisolone was injected intravenously in doses of 30mg/kg over 1 hr for 3 days. Peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets were evaluated before receiving the pulse, as well as 24 hours after the start of the 3rd infusion.
The proportion of peripheral blood Tγ cells in the inactive group was significantly higher than in the active group (p<0.01). The Tμ/Tγ ratio of peripheral blood lymphocyte in the active group was significantly higher than that in the inactive group (p<0.01). Moreover, the proportion of Tγ cells increased significantly after injection of methylprednisolone for 3 days (p<0.01). These findings suggest that the proportion of Tμ and Tγ in the peripheral blood lymphocytes is of benefit in monitoring disease activity and prognosis of disease in JRA.