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Keywords:

  • arthritis;
  • CD4+ T cells;
  • interferon-γ and adjuvant;
  • interleukin-17

Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a debilitating autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the synovial joints. Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PGIA) are mouse models of inflammatory arthritis; CIA is a T helper type 17 (Th17) -dependent disease that is induced with antigen in complete Freund's adjuvant, whereas PGIA is Th1-mediated and is induced using antigen in dimethyldioctadecyl-ammonium bromide (DDA) as an adjuvant. To investigate whether the type of adjuvant determines the cytokine profile of the pathogenic T cells, we have compared the effect of CFA and DDA on T-cell responses in a single arthritis model. No differences in incidence or disease severity between aggrecan-T-cell receptor transgenic mice immunized with aggrecan in either CFA or DDA were observed. Immunization with CFA resulted in a higher proportion of Th17 cells, whereas DDA induced more Th1 cells. However, the levels of interleukin-17 (IL-17) produced by T cells isolated from CFA-immunized mice after antigen-specific stimulation were not significantly different from those found in DDA-immunized mice, indicating that the increased proportion of Th17 cells did not result in significantly higher ex vivo IL-17 levels. Hence, the choice of adjuvant can affect the overall proportions of Th1 and Th17 cells, without necessarily affecting the level of cytokine production or disease incidence and severity.