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CD2R is an activation-associated epitope unmasked by a conformational change of the CD2 cell-surface glycoprotein. In spite of elaborate studies on the role of CD2 and CD2R in adhesion and stimulation of T cells in vitro, no instances of CD2R expression in vivo were known to date. We report high levels of CD2R observed on blood and synovial fluid T cells in rheumatoid arthritis and on peripheral blood T cells in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, and
Lyme disease. In vivo, expression of CD2R was restricted to T cells, not limited to a particular T-cell subset and not correlated with the expression of p55 interleukin 2R (IL-2R) (CD25) or major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules. When stimulated to proliferation via CD2 or CD3, ex vivo CD2R+ T cells showed the same basic activation requirements as CD2R-T cells.