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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9694289, 9 pages
Research Article

Ratio of Circulating IFNγ+ “Th17 Cells” in Memory Th Cells Is Inversely Correlated with the Titer of Anti-CCP Antibodies in Early-Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Based on Flow Cytometry Methods of the Human Immunology Project

Institute of Rheumatology, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, 10-22 Kawada-cho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 162-0054, Japan

Received 30 December 2015; Revised 11 April 2016; Accepted 19 April 2016

Academic Editor: Giacomina Brunetti

Copyright © 2016 Shigeru Kotake et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease with chronic joint inflammation characterized by activated T cells. IL-17 and Th17 cells play important roles in the pathogenesis of RA. Recently, plasticity in helper T cells has been demonstrated; Th17 cells can convert to Th1 cells. However, it remains to be elucidated whether this conversion occurs in the early phase of RA. Here, we validated the methods of the Human Immunology Project using only the cell-surface marker through measuring the actual expression of IL-17 and IFNγ. We also evaluated the expression of CD161 in human Th17 cells. We then tried to identify Th17 cells, IL-17+Th17 cells, and IFNγ+Th17 cells in the peripheral blood of early-onset RA patients using the standardized method of the Human Immunology Project. Our findings validated the method and the expression of CD161. The ratio of IFNγ+Th17 cells in memory T cells was inversely correlated to the titers of anti-CCP antibodies in the early-onset RA patients. These findings suggest that Th17 cells play important roles in the early phase of RA and that anti-IL-17 antibodies should be administered to patients with early phase RA, especially those with high titers of CCP antibodies.