Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) is an animal model of autoimmune inflammatory polyarthritis that has features similar to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Much like RA, susceptibility to mouse CIA is influenced by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), H-2, and restricted to the H-2q and H-2r haplotypes. Whereas the role of the H-2A molecule in susceptibility to CIA is well established, little is known about the role of H-2E molecule in the disease. In this study, we analyzed the effect of a transgenic E beta d molecule on CIA susceptibility in a recombinant mouse B10.RQB3, which expresses the CIA susceptible Aq genes and an Eak gene, but does not produce an E molecule since Ebq is nonfunctional. In the presence of an Ebd transgene, a viable E molecule is generated. Whereas B10.RQB3 were susceptible to CIA, B10.RQB3-E beta d+ showed a dramatic reduction in the incidence of arthritis as well as a decrease in the level of anti-mouse and anti-bovine CII antibodies in their serum. No clear cut differences in the expression of T cell receptor (TCR) V beta was observed between E beta d+ and E beta d- transgenic mice. Mechanisms underlying the protective effect of E beta d transgenic molecule on CIA may shed light on how HLA-DR molecules influence human RA.

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