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Immunology. 1996 Oct;89(2):189-94.

B- and T-cell autoantigens in pristane-induced arthritis.

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Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Bristol, UK.


Pristane-induced arthritis (PIA) is a murine disease resembling rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which is characterized by autoimmune responses to joint tissues. To identify the range of potential antigens targeted in PIA, proteins from arthritic or normal joint extracts were fractionated by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and systematically screened for the ability to react with either serum IgG, or cultured splenic T cells, obtained from healthy or arthritic mice. Extracts from both normal and arthritic animals contained multiple proteins that were capable of reacting with murine serum IgG in immunoblotting experiments. In healthy controls, more bands were identified in extracts prepared from 30-week-old mice than from 8-week-old animals, but the widest range of proteins bound were derived from arthritic joints. Furthermore, the sera from PIA-positive mice reacted with more bands from each of the extracts than did normal sera. Fractionated extracts prepared from healthy joints failed to stimulate the in vitro proliferation of splenic T cells from either normal or arthritic animals. When arthritic joint components were screened, T cells from healthy mice responded weakly to some fractions, but multiple fractions elicited strong proliferation by T cells from mice with PIA. A band of apparent molecular mass 60000 was the protein most commonly bound by serum IgG from arthritic mice, and the corresponding fraction stimulated the highest responses by T cells from PIA-positive animals. These results are consistent with the notion that the 60,000 MW mammalian heat-shock protein is an important antigen in PIA, but that the autoimmune response diversifies with the development of arthritis to target multiple joint components.

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