, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 184-192

Major histocompatibility complex controls susceptibility and dominant inheritance, but not the severity of the disease in mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis

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Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in DBA/1 and proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PGIA) in BALB/c mice are the most frequently used mouse models for studying clinical, immunological and genetic factors contributing to rheumatoid arthritis. DBA/1 (H2 q ) mice are susceptible to CIA but resistant to PGIA, whereas BALB/c mice (H2 d ) are susceptible to PGIA and resistant to CIA. To gain insight into the mechanisms of how the major clinical (disease susceptibility, severity and onset of arthritis) and immunological traits (antigen-specific T- and B-cell responses) are influenced by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), we have generated a unique intercross of BALB/c and DBA/1 parent strains, and the F1 and F2 hybrids were immunized for either CIA or PGIA. The major clinical and immunological traits were identified as either binary (qualitative) or quantitative traits on Chromosome 17 with a peak at MHC when the entire population was analyzed. In contrast, when only arthritic (susceptible) mice were selected and analyzed, the major clinical traits (severity and onset) 'lost' the linkage to MHC. Thus, MHC dictates disease susceptibility, but not the severity of arthritis. This was even more evident in the case of the H2 q allele, which was clearly responsible for the dominant inheritance of arthritis in F2 hybrids (either CIA or PGIA). In conclusion, while certain MHC alleles strongly affect disease susceptibility and determine the mode of inheritance of a polygenic autoimmune disease, neither the type of inheritance (dominant vs recessive) nor other MHC components have evident effects upon the clinical symptoms of arthritis.

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