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Arthritis Rheum. 2010 Feb;62(2):452-62. doi: 10.1002/art.27235.

Enhanced Th1 and Th17 responses and arthritis severity in mice with a deficiency of myeloid cell-specific interleukin-1 receptor antagonist.

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University of Geneva School of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland.



The balance between interleukin-1 (IL-1) and its specific inhibitor, the IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), plays a major role in the development of arthritis. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of IL-1Ra produced specifically by myeloid cells in the control of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) by using myeloid cell-specific IL-1Ra-deficient mice (IL-1Ra(DeltaM)).


IL-1Ra(DeltaM) mice were generated by using the loxP/Cre recombinase system. CIA was induced in IL-1Ra(DeltaM) mice and littermate control mice by a single immunization with bovine type II collagen (CII) in Freund's complete adjuvant. Arthritis severity was assessed by clinical and histologic scoring. Draining lymph node (DLN) cell responses were examined ex vivo, and ankle extracts were used in the quantification of cytokines and chemokines.


Clinical and histopathologic evaluations revealed an early disease onset and a severe form of CIA in IL-1Ra(DeltaM) mice. This was characterized by increased production of interferon-gamma (IFNgamma) and IL-17 by CII-stimulated DLN cells. We also observed that the CII-specific CD4+ T cell response shifted in vivo, from a dominant Th1 response early in the course of the arthritis to the presence of both Th1 and Th17 cytokines later in the disease course. Interestingly, IL-1Ra levels were higher in the arthritic joints of IL-1Ra(DeltaM) mice as compared with the controls, indicating that nonmyeloid cells strongly contribute to the local production of IL-1Ra. However, this enhanced IL-1Ra production was not sufficient to limit joint inflammation and tissue damage.


Our results suggest that myeloid cell-derived IL-1Ra plays a critical role in the control of the development and the severity of CIA by modulating Th1 and Th17 responses in lymphoid organs.

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