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BMC Immunol. 2010 Nov 12;11:55. doi: 10.1186/1471-2172-11-55.

Novel method of monitoring trace cytokines and activated STAT molecules in the paws of arthritic mice using multiplex bead technology.

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  • 1Worldwide Discovery Research, Cephalon, Inc, West Chester, Pennsylvania 19380, USA.



The use of mouse models to study human disease provides useful data that can provide support for research projects or an existing drug discovery program. How well a model recapitulates the human condition and the ease and reproducibility of data collected will determine how much confidence a scientist can place on results obtained. Designing new treatments for rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), requires complex immunocompetent models that depend on intricate cytokine networks. Using local cytokines, signal transduction and transcription factor molecules as potential biomarkers to monitor disease and treatment efficacy is the best method to follow the progression of tissue damage and repair when testing an unknown compound or biologic. Described here in this report, a novel method for the non-enzymatic extraction and measurement of cytokines and signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) molecules using Luminex® bead array technology in two different mouse models for human RA--collagen antibody-dependent arthritis (CAIA) and collagen-induced arthritis (CIA).


Dynamic expression of several pro-inflammatory cytokines responsible for promoting disease augmentation overtime were monitored, such as IL-1β, TNFα, IL-6 and IL-12, locally in the paws of affected animals directly ex vivo. Local cytokine responses could be matched with serum cytokine levels and joint pathology results. In addition, STAT1, 3, and 5a/b activation status could be monitored with confidence using specifically formulated extraction buffer that protected the phosphorylation site. STAT3 activation followed paw swelling and cytokine levels in both models and correlates of disease could be ablated upon treatment with dexamethasone. Here reported a novel method of extracting joint fluid from the paws of inflamed mice coupled with powerful multiplex bead technology allowing us to measure cytokine responses, pharmacodynamic markers such as STATs and pharmacokinetic analysis of dosed agent all from the same sample directly ex vivo.


This method is powerful in that it is applicable to multiple autoimmunity model types, streamlines ex vivo readouts in a high-throughput manner, and allows multiplexing providing the investigator with an array of options and possible analytes when developing preclinical animal models to support drug discovery efforts in the search for new treatments for rheumatic diseases.

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