Induction of autoimmune cholangitis in non-obese diabetic (NOD).1101 mice following a chemical xenobiotic immunization


M. E. Gershwin, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University of California at Davis School of Medicine, 451 Health Sciences Drive, Suite 6510, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Our laboratory has suggested that loss of tolerance to pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDC-E2) leads to an anti-mitochondrial antibody response and autoimmune cholangitis, similar to human primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). We have suggested that this loss of tolerance can be induced either via chemical xenobiotic immunization or exposure to select bacteria. Our work has also highlighted the importance of genetic susceptibility. Using the non-obese diabetic (NOD) congenic strain 1101 (hereafter referred to as NOD.1101 mice), which has chromosome 3 regions from B6 introgressed onto a NOD background, we exposed animals to 2-octynoic acid (2OA) coupled to bovine serum albumin (BSA). 2OA has been demonstrated previously by a quantitative structural activity relationship to react as well as or better than lipoic acid to anti-mitochondrial antibodies. We demonstrate herein that NOD.1101 mice immunized with 2OA-BSA, but not with BSA alone, develop high titre anti-mitochondrial antibodies and histological features, including portal infiltrates enriched in CD8+ cells and liver granulomas, similar to human PBC. We believe this model will allow the rigorous dissection of early immunogenetic cause of biliary damage.