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Cartilage-specific autoimmunity in animal models and clinical aspects in patients – focus on relapsing polychondritis

Ann-Sofie Hansson1* and Rikard Holmdahl2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Immunology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden

2 Section for Medical Inflammation Research, BMC, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

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Arthritis Res 2002, 4:296-301  doi:10.1186/ar425

Published: 17 July 2002


Relapsing polychondritis is an autoimmune disease in which an inappropriate immune response destroys cartilage. Cartilage of the ears, larynx and nose rather than spine and joint cartilage is affected by a chronic relapsing and erosive inflammation. Several animal models for relapsing polychondritis have been published in which immunization with various cartilage proteins induces a variety of chondritis symptoms that mimic those seen in patients. In this review we describe the collagens, matrilin-1 and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein as potential autoantigens able to trigger the tissue-specific immune response seen both in patients and in animal models for relapsing polychondritis and related autoimmune diseases.

collagen; matrilin; model; relapsing polychondritis; rheumatoid arthritis