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Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:148594. doi: 10.1155/2014/148594. Epub 2014 May 27.

Commercial bovine proteoglycan is highly arthritogenic and can be used as an alternative antigen source for PGIA model.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Biosciences Institute, São Paulo State University (UNESP), 18618-000 Botucatu, SP, Brazil.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common systemic autoimmune disease. It affects mainly the joints, causing synovitis, cartilage destruction, and bone erosion. Many experimental models are used to study the mechanisms involved in immunopathogenesis and new therapies for this disease. Proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PGIA) is a widely used model based on the cross-reactivity of injected foreign (usually human) PG and mice self-PG. Considering the complexity of the extraction and purification of human PG, in this study we evaluated the arthritogenicity of bovine PG that is commercially available. Bovine PG was highly arthritogenic, triggering 100% incidence of arthritis in female BALB/c retired breeder mice. Animals immunized with bovine PG presented clinical symptoms and histopathological features similar to human RA and other experimental models. Moreover, bovine PG immunization determined higher levels of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in arthritic mice compared to healthy ones. As expected, only the arthritic group produced IgG1 and IgG2a antibodies against PG. Thus, commercial bovine PG can be used as an alternative antigenic source to PGIA for the study of many RA aspects, including the immunopathogenesis of the disease and also the development of new therapies.

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