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Curr Mol Med. 2004 Feb;4(1):31-40.

Animal models of HLA-B27-associated diseases.

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  • 1Institut Cochin, INSERM U567/CNRS UMR8104/IFR1 16, Hôpital Cochin, 27 rue du Faubourg Saint-Jacques 75014, Paris, France.


The HLA-B27 molecule is strongly associated with the spondyloarthropathies (SpA), a group of inflammatory conditions affecting the skeleton, the skin and several mucosae. The mechanism of this association remains unknown, largely because the HLA-B27 molecule displays normal function. A disease that closely mimicks SpA arises spontaneously in HLA-B27 transgenic rats. This disease is dependent on the presence of a normal bacterial flora and implicates the immune system. The presence of both CD4+ T cells and antigen presenting cells (APCs) expressing high levels of HLA-B27, seems of critical importance in its pathogenesis, whereas CD8+ T cells are dispensable. The T cell stimulatory function of APCs is disturbed by the HLA-B27 molecule. This disease could result from a failure of tolerance, related in part to high level of B27 expression in professional APCs and to the immune response to gut bacteria. In contrast, HLA-B27 transgenic mice have usually remained healthy. However, two types of inflammatory conditions affecting the skeleton, which arise in mice of susceptible background after exposure to a conventional bacterial flora, are increased by an HLA-B27 transgene. The first is ANKENT, a spontaneous ankylosing enthesitis that affects ankle and/or tarsal joints of ageing mice; the second is a spontaneous arthritis of hindpaws developing in mice lacking endogenous mbeta2m. As in rats, the absence of CD8+ T cells in the latter model, argues against the "arthritogenic peptide" hypothesis. In these mbeta2m0 mice, B27 free heavy chain could be implicated in the pathogenesis of arthritis by presenting extracellular peptides to CD4+ T cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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