Immunization of DBA/1 mice with type II collagen resulted in typical and progressive arthritis, which is associated with the production of high titer of anti-collagen antibody and the induction of cell-mediated immunity as exemplified by delayed type hypersensitivity response as well as lymphokine production. In contrast, administration of heat-denatured collagen into DBA/1 mice failed to induce the arthritis. These mice produced only marginal antibody, whereas they developed comparable cell-mediated immunity to that induced by immunization with native collagen, and therefore the inoculation of heat-denatured collagen provided the regimen capable of inducing preferentially cell-mediated immunity without the generation of high level of antibody. Inasmuch as administration of antibody induced only marginal and transient joint swelling not associated with typical histologic lesion, the synergistic effect of humoral and cell-mediated immunities was investigated using antibody preparation and the regimen to induce selectively cell-mediated immunity. The results demonstrate that administration of antibody into DBA/1 mice pre-sensitized with heat-denatured collagen resulted in potent and progressive arthritis. Such synergy was further confirmed by the induction of arthritis in T cell-depleted DBA/1 mice that had been adoptively transferred with antibody and lymphoid cells from heat-denatured collagen-sensitized mice. Moreover, it was revealed that the nature of cells capable of transferring cell-mediated immunity was of Thy-1+ and L3T4+ Lyt-2-. These results indicate that anti-collagen antibody and L3T4+ T cell-mediated cellular immunity are crucially required for the perpetuated development of type II collagen-induced arthritis.

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