We directly compared the effects of oral and nasal administration of collagen type II (CII) on disease progression, cytokine production and T cell responses in DBA/1 mice. Lymphocytes were assayed for proliferation and cytokine production and cell lines established. T cells from fed or nasally treated groups proliferated significantly less and produced markedly less IFN-gamma than the non-fed immunized group 10 days after immunization and prior to onset of arthritis. T cell lines established from fed or nasally treated mice showed a pattern of cytokine production involving IL-4, IL-10 and TGF-beta, whereas T cell lines from the control group produced more IFN-gamma and IL-2. Suppression of clinical measures of arthritis was equivalent in the nasal and orally treated groups. Animals were then tested for IFN-gamma production 70 days after a booster immunization at a time when disease was apparent. Mucosally treated animals secreted less IFN-gamma as compared to controls, even at this late time point. Suppression of collagen induced arthritis (CIA) by nasal treatment of mice with CII was associated with diminished levels of TNF-alpha and IL-6 mRNA expression in the joints of tolerized mice, two cytokines known to be involved in the inflammatory and pathological process of CIA. These results demonstrate the induction of antigen specific Th2 and TGF-beta secreting regulatory cells following both oral and nasal treatment, which is associated with suppression of local inflammation in the joints and decreased Th1 type responses in the periphery throughout the course of the illness.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.