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Cells of the synovium in rheumatoid arthritis. Dendritic cells

Viviana Lutzky, Suad Hannawi and Ranjeny Thomas*

Author Affiliations

Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine, University of Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland 4102, Australia

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2007, 9:219  doi:10.1186/ar2200

Published: 7 September 2007


Dendritic cells are the major antigen-presenting and antigen-priming cells of the immune system. We review the antigen-presenting and proinflammatory roles played by dendritic cells in the initiation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and atherosclerosis, which complicates RA. Various signals that promote the activation of NF-κB and the secretion of TNF and IL-1 drive the maturation of dendritic cells to prime self-specific responses, and drive the perpetuation of synovial inflammation. These signals may include genetic factors, infection, cigarette smoking, immunostimulatory DNA and oxidized low-density lipoprotein, with major involvement of autoantibodies. We propose that the pathogenesis of RA and atherosclerosis is intimately linked, with the vascular disease of RA driven by similar and simultaneous triggers to NF-κB.