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The comparative study of Sprague–Dawley and Lewis rats in adjuvant-induced arthritis

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The outbred Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats, similar to the inbred Lewis (LEW) rats, have been recently demonstrated to be highly susceptible to adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA). We herein compared AIA in SD and LEW rats in terms of clinical, histological, radiological, and immuno-inflammatory features. The results showed that, following inoculation with a ground Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MT) suspension, SD and LEW rats manifested closely similar disease progression, with 100% incidence and similar severity. The development of arthritis was accompanied by significantly higher erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels than in control rats. Radiographic examination of the hind paws showed that both SD and LEW AIA rats manifested conspicuous soft tissue swelling, bone matrix resorption, periosteal new bone formation and bone erosion, while histopathological analysis of the synovial joints revealed marked cellular infiltration, angiogenesis, synovial hyperplasia, pannus formation, narrowing of joint space, and cartilage and bone destruction. Moreover, in relation to disease progression, serum tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and IL-6 levels were markedly overexpressed in both SD and LEW AIA versus control rats, and SD and LEW AIA rats exhibited divergent profiles for the expression of TNF-α and IL-1β. Taken together, these results demonstrated that the SD rat AIA model shares several arthritic features with the comparable model in LEW rats. Hence, given the more favorable characteristics of SD rats than LEW rats (i.e., lower cost, wider availability, and heterogenic background), this SD rat AIA model is more cost effective and advantageous for screening and testing novel anti-arthritic agents.

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This research was funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. We are grateful to Profs. Biao Yan Du, Pei Xun Wang and Liang Zhou of the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (GUTCM), for their assistance in histological analysis, and to Ms. Rui Yan Liang of GUTCM and Mr. Yong Huang and Mr. Yao Hua Huang of the First Affiliated Hospital of GUTCM for their assistance in radiographic analysis. We also thank Dr. Martha Dahlen for her excellent language editing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to L. Liu.

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Cai, X., Wong, Y.F., Zhou, H. et al. The comparative study of Sprague–Dawley and Lewis rats in adjuvant-induced arthritis. Naunyn Schmied Arch Pharmacol 373, 140 (2006).

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  • Adjuvant-induced arthritis
  • Sprague–Dawley rats
  • Lewis rats
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Pro-inflammatory cytokines