Irun R Cohen, Department of Immunology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Adjuvant arthritis (AA) is a disease induced in rats by immunization with killed Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MT) organisms in oil, a substance known as complete Freund's adjuvant. The work of C.M. Pearson and his colleagues in the 1950s and 1960s helped establish AA as a standard model of chronic inflammation produced by immunological processes. Two opposing theories were put forth to explain the pathogenesis of AA: the first proposed that the joints were damaged as bystanders to an immune response directed to MT antigens disseminated to the sites of inflammation; the second proposed that AA was caused by an autoimmune attack against a cross-reactive self antigen. Despite the uncertainty of its pathogenesis, AA has served for many years as a reliable and convenient model for testing treatments for inflammation.
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