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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Collagen type II (CII)-specific antibodies induce arthritis in the absence of T or B cells but the arthritis progression is enhanced by CII-reactive T cells

Kutty Selva Nandakumar*, Johan Bäcklund, Mikael Vestberg and Rikard Holmdahl

Author Affiliations

Section for Medical Inflammation Research, Lund University, Sweden

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Arthritis Res Ther 2004, 6:R544-R550  doi:10.1186/ar1217

Published: 23 September 2004

Abstract

Antibodies against type II collagen (anti-CII) are arthritogenic and have a crucial role in the initiation of collagen-induced arthritis. Here, we have determined the dependence of T and B cells in collagen-antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA) during different phases of arthritis. Mice deficient for B and/or T cells were susceptible to the CAIA, showing that the antibodies induce arthritis even in the absence of an adaptive immune system. To determine whether CII-reactive T cells could have a role in enhancing arthritis development at the effector level of arthritis pathogenesis, we established a T cell line reactive with CII. This T cell line was oligoclonal and responded to different post-translational forms of the major CII epitope at position 260–270 bound to the Aq class II molecule. Importantly, it cross-reacted with the mouse peptide although it is bound with lower affinity to the Aq molecule than the corresponding rat peptide. The T cell line could not induce clinical arthritis per se in Aq-expressing mice even if these mice expressed the major heterologous CII epitope in cartilage, as in the transgenic MMC (mutated mouse collagen) mouse. However, a combined treatment with anti-CII monoclonal antibodies and CII-reactive T cells enhanced the progression of severe arthritis.

Keywords:
arthritis; B cells; collagen type II; monoclonal antibodies; T cells