Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) is an animal model of auto immune polyarthritis, sharing similarities with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Paradoxally, susceptibility to mouse CIA is controlled by the H2A loci (DQ homologous) while RA is linked to HLA.DR genes (H2E homologous). We recently showed that the Eβd molecule prevents CIA development in susceptible H2q mice. We addressed the question of whether H2Eb polymorphism will influence CIA incidence as HLA.DRB1 polymorphism does in RA. In F1 mice, only H2Ebd and H2Ebs molecules showed protection. Using recombinant B10.RDD (Ebd/b) mice, we found that CIA protection was mediated by the first domain of the Eβd molecule. Using peptides covering the third hypervariable region of the Eβ chain, we found a perfect correlation between presentation of Eβ peptides by the H2Aq molecule and protection on CIA. Therefore, the mechanism by which H2Eb protects against CIA seems to rely on the affinity of Eβ peptides for the H2Aq molecule.
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