Collagen-Induced Arthritis as a Model for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) is an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that is widely used to address questions of disease pathogenesis and to validate therapeutic targets. Arthritis is normally induced in mice or rats by immunization with autologous or heterologous type II collagen in adjuvant. Susceptibility to collagen-induced arthritis is strongly associated with major histocompatibility complex class II genes, and the development of arthritis is accompanied by a robust T- and B-cell response to type II collagen. The chief pathological features of CIA include a proliferative synovitis with infiltration of polymorphonuclear and mononuclear cells, pannus formation, cartilage degradation, erosion of bone, and fibrosis. As in RA, pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin (IL)-1β, are abundantly expressed in the arthritic joints of mice with CIA, and blockade of these molecules results in a reduction of disease severity.