Background Murine ankylosing enthesopathy (ANKENT), an experimental model for human ankylosing spondylitis, is strongly dependent on the contact of ANKENT-prone mice (B10 or B10. BR genetic background) with microbes as no disease is observed under germfree (GF) conditions while about 20% of conventional (CV) males are afflicted.
The disease is almost exclusively restricted to male mice, It affects only ankle and tarsal joints. Next risk factor for ANKENT is haplotype.
Objectives To confirm a hypothesis that ANKENT-triggering agents are intestinal bacteria to identify the ANKENT-triggering strains by technique of controlled association of GF mice.
Methods B10. BR males from a previously established GF colony were oligoassociated with a cocktail of anaerobic bacteria isolated from a diseased CV male. The mice were checked for ANKENT once a week. Lymphocyte phenotype in afflicted as well as healthy males was determined.
Results Oligoassociation with the selected cocktail of bacteria resulted in ANKENT in > 20% of ex-GF males, which corresponds to the situation seen under CV conditions and exceeds the ANKENT incidence in specific-pathogen-free mice.
Conclusion ANKENT-triggering agents are bacteria. The importance of viruses, protozoa and helmints in ANKENT onset can be excluded. Our findings strongly suggest that, similar to other spondylarthropathies, intestinal microflora has a inductive role in ANKENT pathogenesis.
Supported by grant GACR 310/00/1371.
Rehakova, et al. Hum Immunol. 2000;61:555
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