Objective: To construct rats congenic for the chromosome 2 arthritis-regulatory quantitative trait locus Cia10, originally identified in a (DA x ACI)F(2) intercross rat strain that had been assessed for collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), and to determine the effect of this congenic interval on arthritis severity, joint histologic structure, and cytokine transcription in rats with pristane-induced arthritis (PIA).
Methods: A 52.6-MB interval derived from the ACI (CIA- and PIA-resistant) strain and containing the Cia10 interval was introgressed into the DA (arthritis-susceptible) background through genotype-guided congenic breeding. Homozygous male and female DA.ACI(Cia10) congenic rats were studied for their susceptibility to and severity of PIA, and were compared with same-sex DA rats. Histologic analyses were done on hind paws collected on day 32 following the pristane injection. Levels of interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) messenger RNA (mRNA) were measured with real-time polymerase chain reaction on synovial tissues from day-32 ankles.
Results: Both male and female DA.ACI(Cia10) congenic rats developed a significantly milder form of arthritis, with a 95% and 92% reduction in the arthritis severity index compared with DA male and female controls, respectively (males P < or = 0.001 and females P = 0.003). DA.ACI(Cia10) congenic rat synovial tissue was more likely to preserve its normal histologic architecture, including minimal to no cartilage and bone erosions, synovial hyperplasia, and pannus formation, and reduced numbers of vessels (angiogenesis), when compared with DA synovial tissue. There was a 2.7- and 2.4-fold reduction in the amount of IL-1beta and TNFalpha mRNA, respectively, in the synovial tissue of DA.ACI(Cia10) congenic rats compared with DA rats. Sequencing analyses of complementary DNA for the Cia10-predicted candidate gene Ptpn8, the rat homolog of the rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-susceptibility gene PTPN22, revealed no polymorphisms between the DA and ACI strains.
Conclusion: This study determined that Cia10 harbors a major autoimmune arthritis-regulatory gene. This gene regulates clinical disease severity, histologic damage, and the levels of at least two central proinflammatory cytokines. We are in the process of narrowing down the critical region for positional cloning of the Cia10 gene. The identification of this gene will provide novel targets or pathways for focused candidate-gene studies in RA.