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The relationship between the functional affinity of antibodies against type II collagen (CII) and the development of arthritis was studied in mice with collagen-induced arthritis. The responses of DBA/1 strain mice were compared with those of mice selectively bred to produce antibodies of high functional affinity (HA mice) and low functional affinity (LA mice). HA and LA mice did not develop arthritis in response to immunization with CII whereas 86% of DBA/1 mice did, with 33% showing severe and 53% mild disease. Anti-CII antibodies of the highest titre, the lowest functional affinity, and the greatest affinity heterogeneity were associated with the development of the severest arthritis in DBA/1 mice: even in DBA/1 mice with moderate or no disease the amount of antibody and heterogeneity were higher and functional affinity lower than in either HA or LA mice. Antibodies of the G1, 2a, 2b and 3 subclasses were produced in all mice, and none of these alone accounted for the overall difference in IgG antibody titres or affinity in the groups of mice. Antibodies of the IgG2a subclass showed the closest association with the development of arthritis in the different groups. It is concluded that anti-CII antibodies of low functional affinity, and presumably also of the IgG2a subclass, influence the disease process in collagen arthritis.


Journal article


J Autoimmun

Publication Date





643 - 657


Animals, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antibody Affinity, Antibody Formation, Arthritis, Autoantibodies, Collagen, Immunoglobulin G, Mice, Mice, Inbred DBA, Mice, Inbred Strains