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Autoimmunity. 1991;10(1):27-34.

Multiple epitopes on cartilage type II collagen are accessible for antibody binding in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Medical and Physiological Chemistry, University of Uppsala, Sweden.


Monoclonal mouse antibodies specific for the major epitopes on mouse type II collagen (CII) were biotinylated and injected into neonatal and adult mice. Anti-CII antibodies, specific for four different epitopes on the CII molecule, could be shown to bind specifically to joint surfaces in the paws of 2-day-old syngeneic DBA/1 mice after an intraperitoneal injection of 100 micrograms of biotinylated antibody. The anti-CII antibodies did not bind to cartilage from DBA/1 mice in vitro, unless the sections were pretreated with hyaluronidase or the specimens decalcified prior to freezing, showing that the epitopes are accessible in vivo but not in vitro. By analyzing the in vivo binding capacity for a number of monoclonal anti-CII antibodies which represented different IgG subclasses, it could be demonstrated that binding to the same epitopes occurred independent of IgG subclass. However, one epitope (denoted "B1") was only weakly detected, possibly due to the fact that the antibody used (CIIB1) crossreacts with type I collagen and C1q. Monoclonal anti-CII antibodies, injected into neonates or adult mice, bound specifically to most, but not all, tissues containing CII; including hyaline joint cartilage, fibrous sternal and costal cartilage, tracheal cartilage and fibrous cartilage in the spine but not to CII-containing structures in the eye. The finding that CII, while present in cartilage, is accessible for antibody binding in vivo may have important implications for the availability of CII for the immune system and for the understanding of the development of pathological autoimmunity leading to collagen-induced arthritis in mice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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