It has previously been reported that lymph node or spleen cells from rats with adjuvantinduced arthritis can transfer the disease to normal recipients after being cultured with concanavalin A (Con A). In this report, it is shown that a subpopulation of cells that (1) lack surface Ig and the antigen reactive with the monoclonal antibody OX8, (2) are largely nonadherent and esterase negative, and (3) are predominantly marked by the monoclonal antibody W3/25 can transfer arthritis after stimulation with Con A. Adjuvant-sensitized lymph node or spleen cells stimulated with Con A but not PHA transfer arthritis, and this difference correlates with relatively higher levels of interleukin 2 secretion by Con A-stimulated cells. A synthetic adjuvant, CP-20961, a substituted propanediamine, induces arthritis that is passively transferable under the same conditions as arthritis induced by classical mycobacterium-containing adjuvant. The data support the hypothesis that adjuvant inoculation in the rat results in the induction of a unique subpopulation of T cells that initiate the inflammatory joint disease.
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