Objectives: CD8T cells lacking CD28 were originally reported by Wedderburn and colleagues as a characteristic feature of JIA, but the relevance of these unusual cells to JIA remains to be elucidated. Because of recent evidence that CD28 loss is typical of terminally differentiated lymphocytes, we examined for functional subsets of CD8T cells in JIA. Methods: Following informed consent/assent, blood and/or waste synovial fluid were collected from children with definite diagnosis of JIA (n = 98). De-identified blood (n = 33) and cord blood (n = 13) samples from healthy donors were also collected. CD8T and CD4T cells were screened for novel receptors, and where indicated, bioassays were performed to determine functional relevance of the identified receptor. Results: Patients had a na�ve T cell compartment with shortened telomeres, and their entire T cell pool had reduced proliferative capacity. They had an over abundance of CD31+CD28null CD8T cells, which was a significant feature of oligoarticular JIA (n = 62) compared to polyarticular JIA (n = 36). CD31+CD28null CD8T cells had limited mitotic capacity, and expressed high levels of the senescence antigens ?H2Ax and/or p16. Ligation of CD31, independent of the TCR, sufficiently induced tyrosine phosphorylation, vesicle exocytosis, and production of IFN-? and IL-10. Conclusion: These data provide the first evidence for cell senescence, represented by CD31+CD28null CD8T cells, in the pathophysiology of JIA. Activation of these unusual cells in a TCR-independent manner suggests they are maladaptive, and could be potential targets for immunotherapy. � 2013 American College of Rheumatology.