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Semin Immunol. 2006 Aug;18(4):199-206. Epub 2006 May 19.

Spontaneous development of autoimmune arthritis due to genetic anomaly of T cell signal transduction: Part 1.

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Department of Experimental Pathology, Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, 53 Shogoin Kawahara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


A point mutation of the gene encoding ZAP-70, a key signal transduction molecule in T cells, results in spontaneous development of T cell-mediated autoimmune arthritis in mice homozygous for the mutation. The genetic anomaly alters differentiation and selection of T cells in the thymus, leading to thymic production of arthritogenic autoimmune T cells. The arthritogenic T cells persist in the periphery and elicit arthritis when activated by microbial agents that stimulate innate immunity. This model is instrumental in understanding how genetic variations in T cell signal transduction, together with environmental influences, contribute to the development of autoimmune disease.

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