Relapsing polychondritis, induced in mice with matrilin 1, is an antibody- and complement-dependent disease

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Relapsing polychondritis is an autoinumme disease that affects cartilage in the ear, nose, and respiratory tract. A pathogenic immune response has been proposed and antibodies to several cartilage proteins are detected in sera from these patients. To investigate the role of the humoral immune response in relapsing polychondritis, we used the matrilin-1-induced relapsing polychondritis model. Mice deficient of B cells (muMT) and mice congenic at the complement factor 5, were immunized with matrilin-1, a cartilage-specific protein mainly detected in the tracheal cartilage. To investigate the binding properties and tissue selection of matrilin-1-specific antibodies we produced matrilin-1-specific B-cell hybridomas. Although 83% of the muMT heterozygous mice developed respiratory distress and erosive chondritis in the respiratory tract, none of the B-cell-deficient mice were susceptible to disease. In addition, we show that complement factor 5 is important for the induction of matrilin-1-induced relapsing polychondritis. Monoclonal matrilin-1-specific antibodies injected into neonatal mice bound specifically to cartilage of the respiratory tract and adult B-cell-deficient mice injected with the same antibodies developed erosive chondritis in the respiratory tract. We conclude that relapsing polychondritis can be mediated by a pathway involving tissue-specific antibodies and complement activation.


  • AS Hansson
  • Martina Johannesson
  • Lars Svensson
  • KS Nandakumar
  • Dick Heinegård
  • Rikard Holmdahl
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-966
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
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: Medical Inflammation Research (013212019), Connective Tissue Biology (013230151)