Lymph nodes - not lymphoma
Inflammatory disorders (noninfectious)
Rheumatoid arthritis

Topic Completed: 1 June 2006

Revised: 5 February 2019, last major update June 2006

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Rheumatoid arthritis[TI] lymph nodes

See also: Hyaline deposits, Gold deposits

Page views in 2018: 1,134
Page views in 2019 to date: 856
Cite this page: DePond W. Rheumatoid arthritis. website. Accessed October 18th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Associated with lymphadenopathy during course of disease in 82%, usually axillary (J Int Med Res 2003;31:345)
  • Lymphadenopathy usually disappears during disease remission
  • May also have fever, weight loss, anemia
  • Modestly increased risk of lymphoma, may be due to methotrexate treatment
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Follicular hyperplasia with sparse (J Clin Pathol 1990;43:106) vs. active (Acta Pathol Jpn 1990;40:249) proliferative activity, interfollicular plasma cells with Russell bodies, vascular proliferation
  • Capsular lymphocytic infiltrate
  • May resemble plasma cell variant of Castleman disease
  • Often PAS+ extracellular hyaline material
  • Occasionally focal necrosis and microabscesses
  • May have sarcoid-like granulomas
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut server:

Reactive lymphadenopathy of rheumatoid arthritis

Images hosted on other servers:

Follicular hyperplasia
with eosinophilic
material in
interfollicular areas

Extensive replacement
by focally calcified
eosinophilic material

Rounded, well
separated follicles
with expanded

Follicular center composed
primarily of centrocytes,
with no / rare tingible body
macrophages or mitotic figures

Interdigitating dendritic
cells (CD1+) are associated
with small lymphocytes

Negative stains
  • Polyclonal plasma cells (no light chain restriction)
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