T cells play an essential role in the pathogenesis of both human rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its murine models. A key molecule in T cell activation is ZAP-70, therefore we aimed to investigate the effects of partial ZAP-70 deficiency on the pathogenesis of recombinant human G1(rhG1)-induced arthritis (GIA), a well-established mouse model of RA. Arthritis was induced in BALB/c and ZAP-70+/−
heterozygous mice. Disease progression was monitored using a scoring system and in vivo imaging, antigen-specific proliferation, cytokine and autoantibody production was measured and T cell apoptotic pathways were analyzed. ZAP-70+/−
mice developed a less severe arthritis, as shown by both clinical picture and in vitro parameters (decreased T cell proliferation, cytokine and autoantibody production). The amount of cleaved Caspase-3 increased in arthritic ZAP-70+/−
T cells, with no significant changes in cleaved Caspase-8 and -9 levels; although expression of Bim, Bcl-2 and Cytochrome C showed alterations. Tyrosine phosphorylation was less pronounced in arthritic ZAP-70+/−
T cells and the amount of Cbl-b—a negative regulator of T cell activation—decreased as well. We hypothesize that the less severe disease seen in the partial absence of ZAP-70 might be caused by the decreased T cell activation accompanied by increased apoptosis.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited