PRISTANE-INDUCED ARTHRITIS IN MICE: V. Susceptibility to Pristane-Induced Arthritis is Determined by the Genetic Regulation of the T Cell Repertoire

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Pristane-induced arthritis (PIA) is an experimental seropositive arthritis that is characterized by serologic and cellular immune abnormalities and is dependent on the presence of a competent CD4+ T cell population. We examined the regulation of PIA by genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and the Mls-1 loci to determine whether the selection of the T cells that infiltrate arthritic joints is a critical factor in disease susceptibility.


Genetic regulation of PIA was investigated using F1 hybrid and congenic strain analysis to determine the influence of MHC and Mls-1 genes. The T cell receptor Vβ phenotypes of lymph node cells and T cells infiltrating arthritic joints were examined with 2-color flow cytometry and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction techniques.


F1 hybrid offspring from 2 major PIA-susceptible strains (DBA/1 × BALB/c) were resistant to the induction of arthritis because of the interaction between genes of the MHC and the Mls-1 loci, which modified the T cell repertoire. This conclusion was supported by the observed resistance to PIA in BALB/c-Mls-1a mice, where T cells expressing the Vβ8.1 and Vβ6 phenotypes were absent. The receptor phenotype of T cells infiltrating arthritic joints in DBA/1 mice was markedly skewed toward Vβ8.1 and Vβ6 compared with the population observed in lymph nodes from either PIA or normal control DBA/1 mice.


The data support the hypothesis that PIA is a T cell-mediated disease. While pristane causes a polyclonal T cell expansion that gives rise to lymphadenopathy, the development of arthritis in susceptible strains of mice occurs due to the preservation of specific T cell subsets with the capacity to infiltrate synovial joints.

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