The relationship between cell mediated immunity to collagen and arthritis was studied with lymphocytes from arthritic and nonarthritic rats after immunisation with native bovine type II collagen. With the in-vivo radiometric ear assay arthritic rats gave a significantly higher response to native type II collagen than did nonarthritic rats. However, there was an overlap of values, and some arthritic rats gave no response to collagen even on the day of onset of arthritis. There was no difference in the response of lymphocytes from arthritic and nonarthritic rats with in-vitro transformation to native type II collagen, responses being found in both groups. All rats which developed arthritis had serum antibodies to native type II collagen, but not all responded to the tests for cell mediated immunity. These findings suggest that antibodies to collagen are more associated with the development of arthritis than is cell mediated immunity to collagen.
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