© 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc. To define the cell populations that drive joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we applied single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), mass cytometry, bulk RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and flow cytometry to T cells, B cells, monocytes, and fibroblasts from 51 samples of synovial tissue from patients with RA or osteoarthritis (OA). Utilizing an integrated strategy based on canonical correlation analysis of 5,265 scRNA-seq profiles, we identified 18 unique cell populations. Combining mass cytometry and transcriptomics revealed cell states expanded in RA synovia: THY1(CD90) + HLA-DRA hi sublining fibroblasts, IL1B + pro-inflammatory monocytes, ITGAX + TBX21 + autoimmune-associated B cells and PDCD1 + peripheral helper T (T PH ) cells and follicular helper T (T FH ) cells. We defined distinct subsets of CD8 + T cells characterized by GZMK + , GZMB + , and GNLY + phenotypes. We mapped inflammatory mediators to their source cell populations; for example, we attributed IL6 expression to THY1 + HLA-DRA hi fibroblasts and IL1B production to pro-inflammatory monocytes. These populations are potentially key mediators of RA pathogenesis.
School of Medicine
General Internal Medicine