CD68-expressing cells can prime T cells and initiate autoimmune arthritis in the absence of reactive oxygen species.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


It is widely believed that DC, but not macrophages, prime naïve T cells in vivo. Here, we investigated the ability of CD68-expressing cells (commonly defined as macrophages) in priming autoreactive T cells and initiating collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in the mouse. For this purpose, a transgenic mouse was developed (MBQ mouse) where macrophages exclusively expressed the MHC class II H2-A(q) (A(q) ) on an H2-A(p) (A(p) ) background. A(q) , but not A(p) expression mediates susceptibility to CIA through presentation of type II collagen (CII) to T cells. CIA severity is enhanced by a mutation in the Ncf1 gene, impairing reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by the phagocyte NADPH oxidase (NOX2) complex. Expression of functional Ncf1 on macrophages was previously shown to protect from severe CIA. To study the effect of ROS on macrophage-mediated priming of T cells, the Ncf1 mutation was introduced in the MBQ mouse. Upon CII immunization, Ncf1-mutated MBQ mice, but not Ncf1 wild-type MBQ mice nor Ncf1-mutated A(p) mice, activated autoreactive T cells and developed CIA. These findings demonstrate for the first time that macrophages can initiate arthritis and that the process is negatively regulated by ROS produced via the NOX2 complex.


  • Angela Pizzolla
  • Kyra Gelderman
  • Malin Hultqvist
  • Mikael Vestberg
  • Kenth Gustafsson
  • Ragnar Mattsson
  • Rikard Holmdahl
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Immunology in the medical area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-412
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Department of Experimental Medical Science (013210000), Medical Inflammation Research (013212019)