Under normal circumstances an immune response develops rapidly following the recognition of a ‘non-self antigen within the body. The antigen, whether it is a virus, bacteria or cancer cell, is then eliminated by the pleiotropic actions of the innate and adaptive immune systems. Apoptosis, or programmed cell death is a complex procedure by which an effete cell shuts down its normal function, including proliferation and DNA repair mechanisms and packages its constituents so that they can be safely phagocytosed by either a professional phagocyte or a neighbouring cell. There are two major pathways by which T-cell apoptosis is induced: cytokine deprivation induced apoptosis and activation-induced apoptosis, usually mediated by Fas/FasL interactions. One of the most intriguing features of rheumatoid arthritis is that it represents an inflammatory response that does not resolve. Type I interferons have a profound inhibitory effect on cytokine deprivation induced apoptosis in T cells.