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Rheumatoid Arthritis: Ultrastructure of the Synovium

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Pathologic Anatomy Branch
General Laboratories and Clinics
National Cancer Institute
Bethesda, Md.

Ann Intern Med. 1967;66(3):623-624. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-66-3-623
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Several lines of investigation have recently focused attention on the ultrastructure of the synovium in rheumatoid arthritis. Electron microscopy has shown that a significant proportion of the synovial lining cells correspond to macrophages in both cytologic organization and phagocytic potential (1, 2). These cells, sometimes designated type A or type M, undergo a pronounced hyperplasia in rheumatoid arthritis and display intense acid phosphatase activity. Multinucleated giant cells of macrophage (type A cell) origin also occur with some frequency (3) and contain similar hydrolytic enzyme.

Current thinking about the nature of rheumatoid arthritis is dominated by a concern with hypersensitivity mechanisms,


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