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J Immunol. 2002 Jun 1;168(11):5867-75.

CD4 and CD8 T cells in susceptibility/protection to collagen-induced arthritis in HLA-DQ8-transgenic mice: implications for rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Division of Rheumatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. taneja.veena@mayo.edu


To investigate the role of CD4 and CD8 T cells in arthritis, we generated transgenic mice deficient in CD4 and CD8 molecules expressing RA-susceptible gene HLA-DQ8. DQ8.CD4(-/-) mice were resistant to developing collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). However, DQ8.CD8(-/-) mice developed CIA with increased incidence and more severity than DQ8 mice. Both DQ8.CD8(-/-) and DQ8 mice produced rheumatoid factor. In addition, DQ8.CD8(-/-) mice produced antinuclear Abs. The B cell compartment and expression of DQ8 were normal in all the strains, although frequency of cells expressing DQ8 was less in CD4(-/-) mice. An increased frequency of CD3(+) double-negative (DN) T cells was found in DQ8.CD8(-/-) compared with DQ8.CD4(-/-) and DQ8 mice. These CD3(+) DN T cells produced high amounts of IL-10 in CD8-deficient mice. Analysis of cell division using a cell cycle tracking dye showed a higher rate of division of CD3(+) and CD3(+) DN T cells in DQ8.CD8(-/-) mice compared with DQ8.CD4(-/-) and DQ8 mice. Decreased apoptosis was seen in CIA-susceptible DQ8 and CD8-deficient mice, indicating a defect in activation-induced cell death. These observations suggest that CD4 cells are necessary for initiation of CIA in DQ8 mice. We hypothesize that CD8(+) T cells are not capable of initiating CIA in DQ8-transgenic mice but may have a regulatory/protective effect.

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