Staging the initiation of autoantibody-induced arthritis: A critical role for immune complexes

Brian T. Wipke, Zheng Wang, Wounter Nagengast, David E. Reichert, Paul M. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


In the K/B x N mouse model of arthritis, autoantibodies against glucose-6-phosphate isomerase cause joint-specific inflammation and destruction. We have shown using micro-positron emission tomography that these glucose-6-phosphate isomerase-specific autoantibodies rapidly localize to distal joints of mice. In this study we used micro-positron emission tomography to delineate the stages involved in the development of arthritis. Localization of Abs to the joints depended upon mast cells, neutrophils, and FcRs, but not on C5. Surprisingly, anti-type II collagen Abs alone did not accumulate in the distal joints, but could be induced to do so by coinjection of irrelevant preformed immune complexes. Control Abs localized to the joint in a similar manner. Thus, immune complexes are essential initiators of arthritis by sequential activation of neutrophils and mast cells to allow Abs access to the joints, where they must bind a target Ag to initiate inflammation. Our findings support a four-stage model for the development of arthritis and identify checkpoints where the disease is reversible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7694-7702
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2004


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