The effects of treatment with a monoclonal antibody (R73 mAb) against T cell receptor alpha/beta (TCR-alpha/beta) on both established adjuvant arthritis (EAA) and established collagen-induced arthritis (ECIA) in rats have been investigated. Rats were treated with R73 mAb when arthritis reached a peak. Treatment with the anti-TCR-alpha/beta mAb markedly suppressed EAA, whereas ECIA was not affected by the mAb treatment. Histologically, R73 mAb-treated rats with EAA showed mild hyperplasia of synovial tissues, sparse infiltration of inflammatory cells, and minimal erosion of cartilage, whereas arthritic rats treated with PBS and an irrelevant control mAb against Giardia had marked hyperplasia of synovium with pannus, massive inflammatory cell infiltrate, and severe destruction of cartilage and subchondral bone. R73 mAb-treated rats with ECIA exhibited pronounced formation of pannus containing many inflammatory cells and marked cartilage and subchondral damage similar to those in arthritic rats that received the control treatments. Treatment with R73 mAb depleted markedly alpha/beta+ T cells in both peripheral blood and synovial tissues of rats with EAA and ECIA. R73 mAb treatment was associated with marked reduction in arthritogen-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity responses in both EAA and ECIA. The titers of antibodies against type II collagen produced in rats with ECIA were not affected by the mAb. Thus, alpha/beta+ T cells appear to have a central role in EAA, but not in chronic ECIA.

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