Investigations carried out permitted to detect the in vitro growth of cells in the synovial fluid of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Five types of cells (macrophages, polykariocytes, fibroblast-like cells histiocytes and lymphocytes) appeared during transformation. It was revealed that the intensity of the cell growth in the culture depended on the activity of the disease; there was also a significant decrease of this intensity (P less than 0.01) in the treatment of the patients. The growth of the fibroblast-like cells up to the formation of colonies pointed to their possible participation in the genesis of inflammatory processes and sclerosing of the vessels. The observed phenomenon of the cytopathic interaction of the lymphocytes and of the fibroblast-like cells served as an index of an autoimmune conflict in the joint and, possibly, one of the mechanisms of automaintenance of the autoimmune process.
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