Analysis of the IgG autoantibody subclass response in the collagen II autoimmune arthritis (CII AIA)-susceptible D1 strain mice revealed that the onset of disease was associated with a predominance of IgG2a autoantibody. In a comparative study, resistance in the B6 strain was associated with a deficient IgG2a autoantibody response. B6 IgG1, 2b, and 3 autoantibody responses generally overlapped those of arthritic D1 mice, and estimates of antibody crossreactivity and affinity were similar for both strains. In crosses between D1 and B6, arthritis developed only in those F1 mice with IgG2a autoantibody responses approximating or exceeding those in arthritic D1 mice. Additional studies with B6 and B10 strains suggested an alternate role for the IgG2b autoantibody response. In inbred strains with known genetic backgrounds, a dissociation between the magnitude of the total IgG autoantibody response and the percent of total as IgG2a was demonstrated. The H-2q, Ig-1c D1 strain was a high-total and high-percent IgG2a responder, while the H-2d, Ig-1c D2 strain was a low-total but high-percent IgG2a responder. The H-2b, Ig-1b B6 strain was a low-total and low-percent IgG2a responder, while the H-2b/q, Ig-1b/c (B6D1)F1 hybrid was a low-total but high-percent IgG2a responder. A further dissociation between high-percent IgG2a autoantibody responsiveness and the H-2 haplotype was demonstrated by the H-2 congenic B10.D2/n (H-2d, Ig-1b) strain, in which a low-percent IgG2a response was observed to differ from the D2 strain. High-percent IgG2a autoantibody responsiveness also appeared to be inherited as a dominant trait based upon high responses in all (B6D1)F1 hybrids and backcrosses to D1. These findings suggest that the H-2 haplotype is involved in the total IgG autoantibody response but that the relative fraction of the total response as IgG2a is independent of the H-2 haplotype and possibly related to Igh-C genes. C5-deficient SWR (H-2q, Ig-1c) mice were found to have a high total autoantibody response to mouse CII and IgG2a comparable to arthritic D1 mice, but these mice did not develop arthritis. Based upon these observations, we conclude that susceptibility to CII AIA requires the interaction of multiple genes, both major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and non-MHC, which influence the magnitude (total IgG) and the quality (IgG subclass) of the autoimmune response and the availability of appropriate mediators (C5) to initiate the inflammatory reaction.

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