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Infliximab Reduces the Frequency of Interleukin 17-Producing Cells and the Amounts of Interleukin 17 in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis
  1. Hui Shen, PhD,
  2. Liping Xia, PhD,
  3. Jing Lu, PhD,
  4. Weiguo Xiao, PhD
  1. From the Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, the 1st Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China.
  1. Received March 22, 2010, and in revised form May 17, 2010.
  2. Accepted for publication June 5, 2010.
  3. Reprints: Hui Shen, PhD, Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, the 1st Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China. E-mail: shenhuicam{at}
  4. Supported by higher education department of Liaoning province research grant number: L2010604, L2010613, and L20060997.


Background To detect frequency changes in interleukin 17 (IL-17)+ CD4+ T cells and the amounts of IL-17 in supernatants between baseline and 30 weeks after Infliximab combined with methotrexate (MTX) or MTX-alone therapy.

Methods Flow cytometry was used to analyze the frequency of IL-17+ CD4+ T cells in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and control subjects at baseline and 30 weeks after therapy. Secretion of IL-17 by peripheral blood mononuclear cells was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results The percentages of IL-17+ CD4+T cells were increased in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with RA compared with healthy subjects. The percentages of IL-17+ CD4+T cells were correlated with the number of swelling joints and C-reactive protein of RA patients. Likewise, concentrations of IL-17 in supernatants from patients with RA were significantly higher compared with those from control subjects. After infliximab combined with MTX or MTX-alone therapy, the number of swelling joints, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, rheumatoid factor, and Disease Activity Score 28 decreased significantly compared with baseline. Only in the infliximab + MTX group that the frequency of TH17 cells and concentration of IL-17 decreased.

Conclusions These data support the hypothesis that infliximab therapy can have an effect on TH17 cells and decrease disease activity.

Key Words
  • infliximab
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • interleukin 17
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