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Clin Exp Immunol. 1992 Jun;88(3):467-72.

Genetic, hormonal and behavioural influence on spontaneously developing arthritis in normal mice.

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Department of Medical and Physiological Chemistry, Uppsala University, Sweden.


DBA/1 male mice develop arthritis spontaneously at the age of 4 months. The affected joints show cell-rich pannus formation without T cell infiltration and only limited MHC class II expression. Specific pathogen-free DBA/1 mice from different sources developed the same disease. Analyses of inbred mouse strains with various genetic backgrounds and F1 hybrids revealed that the disease is genetically dependent of DBA/1 recessive genes. However, F1 hybrids between DBA/1 and BXSB spontaneously developed arthritis with earlier onset than DBA/1 mice, suggesting that the BXSB autoimmune gene background had both permissive and contributing effects on the development of arthritis. The complete male preponderance for disease susceptibility was investigated by castration and testosterone treatment of DBA/1 males. No arthritis developed after castration and disease susceptibility was restored by testosterone treatment. Arthritis developed only where more than two males were kept in cages, suggesting an influence by aggressive behaviour. Thus, the spontaneous development of arthritis is dependent on hormonal and behavioural mediated effects and differs from experimental models for rheumatoid arthritis such as type II collagen-induced arthritis and pristane-induced arthritis. We conclude that the spontaneously developing arthritis in the normal DBA/1 strain may be more useful as a disease model for osteoarthritis than for rheumatoid arthritis.

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