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Infect Immun. Dec 1979; 26(3): 791–794.
PMCID: PMC414687

Susceptibility to adjuvant-induced arthritis among germfree, specific-pathogen-free, and conventional rats.


Germfree F344 rats developed severe arthritis with 100% incidence after a single intradermal inection of either squalane containing 0.5 mg of heat-killed Mycobacterium bovis BCG or a water-in-oil emulsion containing 0.2 mg of peptidoglycan derived from Staphylococcus epidermidis. Conventional F344 rats developed less-severe arthritis with 20% incidence for heat-killed BCG and 0% incidence for peptidoglycan. Specific-pathogen-free rats showed an intermediate susceptibility between germfree and conventional rats. Interestingly, both unimmunized specific-pathogen-free and conventional rats. but not unimmunized germfree rats, showed weak delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions to peptidoglycans derived from either S. epidermidis or Lactobacillus plantarum, suggesting that a bacterial flora may furnish a stimulus for induction of cell-mediated immunity to ubiquitous bacterial peptidoglycans. It is thus possible that although a bacterial flora is not necessary for development of adjuvant arthritis, it may have some suppressive effect on the development of the disease in specific-pathogen-free and conventional F344 rats, possibly through modulation of the immune response.

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Selected References

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