Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease associated with the recognition of self proteins secluded in diarthrodial joints. We have previously established that mice transgenic for the human DR genes associated with RA are susceptible to collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and we have identified a determinant of type II collagen (CII 263-270 ) that triggers T-cell immune responses in these mice. We have also determined that an analog of CII 263-270 would suppress disease in DR1 transgenic mice. Because the immunodominant determinant is the same for both DR1 transgenic and DR4 transgenic mice, we attempted to determine whether the analog peptide that was suppressive in DR1 transgenic mice would also be effective in suppressing CIA in DR4 transgenic mice. We treated DR4 transgenic mice with two analog peptides of CII that contained substitutions in the core of the immunodominant determinant: CII 256-276 (F263N, E266D) and CII 256-270 (F263N, E266A). Mice were observed for CIA, and T-cell proliferative responses were determined. Either peptide administered at the time of immunization with CII significantly downregulated arthritis. Binding studies demonstrated that replacement of the phenylalanine residue in position 263 of the CII peptide with asparagine significantly decreased the affinity of the peptide for the DR4 molecule. In contrast, replacement of the glutamic acid residue in position 266 with aspartic acid or with alanine had differing results. Aspartic acid reduced the affinity (35-fold) whereas alanine did not. Both peptides were capable of suppressing CIA. With the use of either peptide, CII 256-276 (F263N, E266D) or CII 256-270 (F263N, E266A), the modulation of CIA was associated with an increase in T-cell secretion of IL-4 together with a decrease in IFN-γ. We have identified two analog peptides that are potent suppressors of CIA in DR4 transgenic mice. These experiments represent the first description of an analog peptide of CII recognized by T cells in the context of HLA-DR4 that can suppress autoimmune arthritis. © 2006 Sakurai et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Sakurai, Y., Brand, D. D., Tang, B., Rosloniec, E. F., Stuart, J. M., Kang, A. H., & Myers, L. K. (2006). Analog peptides of type II collagen can suppress arthritis in HLA-DR4 (DRB1*0401) transgenic mice. Arthritis Research and Therapy, 8(5). https://doi.org/10.1186/ar2043