Adjuvant Arthritis in the Rat

Willem van Eden1, Josee P.A. Wagenaar‐Hilbers1, Marca H.M. Wauben1

1 Institute of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Immunology
Unit Number:  Unit 15.4
DOI:  10.1002/0471142735.im1504s19
Online Posting Date:  May, 2001
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Adjuvant arthritis (AA) is an induced form of (sub)chronic arthritis. Strains of rats have a varying genetic susceptibility to AA, whereas mice generally are not susceptible. AA is most easily induced with mycobacteria suspended in oil, although in some strains of rats it can be induced with oily adjuvants in the absence of mycobacteria. The disease is a T cell‐mediated autoimmune arthritis that is frequently used to study immunological aspects of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other arthritic or inflammatory diseases in humans. Furthermore, it is used as a model for developing and testing antiinflammatory drugs. There are no particularly well‐defined autoantigens in AA; in this respect, the model resembles spontaneous arthritic diseases in humans. In all susceptible rat strains, the inflammatory process of AA is self remitting, although usually the disease is severe and leads to permanent joint malformations, including ankylosis; a time line for AA development is presented. This unit describes the induction and evaluation of AA and the preparation of adjuvant used to induce AA.

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Table of Contents

  • Basic Protocol 1: Induction of Adjuvant Arthritis
  • Support Protocol 1: Preparation of Mycobacteria Suspension
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
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Basic Protocol 1: Induction of Adjuvant Arthritis

  • 10 mg/ml heat‐killed Mycobacterium tuberculosis (strain H37Ra) suspended in incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA; see protocol 2)
  • Lewis rats, 6 to 12 weeks old and pathogen free
  • 1‐ml glass syringe
  • 20‐ and 25‐G needles
  • Scale
  • Restraining device for rats
  • Wet cotton
  • Additional reagents and equipment for animal care, handling, and restraint (units 1.1 1.5)

Support Protocol 1: Preparation of Mycobacteria Suspension

  • 100 mg dried, heat‐killed Mycobacterium tuberculosis (strain H37Ra)
  • 10 ml incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA; Difco)
  • Pestle and ∼7‐cm‐diameter roughened glass or porcelain mortar
  • 15‐ml plastic or glass tube
CAUTION: Wear gloves when handling the suspension of mycobacteria in oil, as it may be irritating and potentially sensitizing for humans.
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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