Objective. To determine whether apoptosis occurs in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synoviocytes, and if this phenomenon is dependent on the Fas/Apo-1 pathway.
Methods. Apoptotic change in vivo was examined in RA synovial cells by several standard methods. The ability of cells to undergo Fas-induced apoptosis was determined in vitro.
Results. Typical apoptotic change was demonstrated in RA synovial cells by each method. Anti-Fas antibody induced apoptotic synovial cell death in vitro.
Conclusion. This is the first reported study to demonstrate apoptosis in RA synovial cells. The findings indicate that rheumatoid synoviocytes undergo Fas-mediated apoptosis.