Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) is an animal model of auto-immune inflammatory polyarthritis which has features similar to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Much like RA, susceptibility to mouse CIA is influenced by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and is restricted to the H2 haplotypes q and r. In previous experiments, we have found that the introduction of an H2-Eb(d) transgene in H2-A(q) CIA-susceptible mice was able to protect these mice against disease development. More recently, we have proposed that the polymorphism of the first domain of the Eβ molecule modulates this protection, and that the presentation of a peptide from the third hypervariable region of the Eβ chain by the H2-A(q) molecule plays an important role in this mechanism. In the present report, we investigated whether the H2-E-mediated protection is H2-A(q)-specific and whether the source of collagen has any influence. While the source of collagen had no effect on the protection, our results showed that the H2-E molecule failed to protect B10.RIII (H2(r)) mice against CIA. Further, the H2 haplotype r exerted a negative effect on the Eβ(d)-mediated protection in H2-A(q)-restricted disease. Our results provide additional proof that self-MHC-derived peptides, such as Eβ peptides, may play an important role in the T-cell repertoire education and/or modulation of the T-cell response in the periphery.
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