Nucleotide Sequence Analysis of Rheumatoid Factors and Polyreactive Antibodies derived from Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Reveals Diverse Use of VH and VL Gene Segments and Extensive Variability in CDR‐3
The heavy and light chain nucleotide sequences of 17 monoreactive and polyreactive rheumatoid factors largely derived from the inflamed synovial tissue of two patients with rheumatoid arthritis are described. Some of these sequences have been the subject of a previous report from our laboratories. Additionally, a few rheumatoid factors from the peripheral blood of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and Sjogren's syndrome as well as a normal individual are included. A review of our previous results as well as the new data provided within this paper lead to the following major conclusions: (1) Rheumatoid factors and polyreactive antibodies derive from a diverse array of VH and VL gene segments; (2) While many rheumatoid factors and polyreactive antibodies are direct or nearly direct copies of germline genes, some show clear evidence of somatic mutation; (3) The CDR3 of all of these antibodies is extraordinarily diverse in length and composition. Certain 'restrictions' do appear in this very large sample: (a) the polyreactive antibodies are exclusively lambda, and (b) there seems to be a preponderance of a particular subset of VH3 genes beyond that one would expect based on random utilization.