B10.Q (H-2q) mice congenic for the truncated T cell receptor (TCR) V beta a and V beta c haplotypes were derived to examine the influence of TCR V beta genomic deletions in murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). Previous studies using gene complementation and segregation analyses suggested that in SWR (H-2q) mice, possession of the V beta a gene deletion results in CIA resistance. However, other studies have suggested alternative hypotheses. Thus, analysis of TCR V beta congenic mice allows for direct examination of V beta genotypes in CIA control. After immunization with bovine type II collagen, B10.Q-V beta a mice showed no difference in arthritis susceptibility, onset, or severity when compared with prototype B10.Q mice. In contrast, B10.Q-V beta c mice, which lack the V beta 6, 15, 17, and 19 families in addition to the V beta a deletion, were highly resistant to CIA. In vivo depletion of V beta 6+ T cells in B10.Q-V beta a mice significantly delayed arthritis onset suggesting that, among those V beta genes present in V beta a but absent in V beta c, V beta 6+ T cells contribute to arthritogenesis. Our findings show that, in B10.Q-V beta congenic mice, while the V beta a genotype does not prevent CIA, the highly truncated V beta c genotype renders B10.Q mice resistant to CIA. Thus, deletions within the V beta TCR genome can indeed influence CIA and suggests that the TCR repertoire displays only marginal flexibility in response to arthritogenic stimuli.

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