Rats treated with an mAb (R73) against the TCR-alpha beta failed to develop chronic persistent arthritis after injection of streptococcal cell walls. Histologically, R73 mAb-treated rats had mild hyperplasia of synovial lining cells and minimal destruction of cartilage. In contrast, control-treated animals developed marked pannus formation, with pronounced infiltration of mononuclear cells and severe destruction of cartilage and subchondral bone. The preventive effect of R73 mAb on streptococcal cell wall-induced arthritis was associated with the marked depletion of alpha beta + T cells by R73 mAb. These results indicate that T cells play a crucial role in chronic erosive streptococcal cell wall-induced arthritis.

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