Virtually any animal species can be used in the conduct of antigen arthritis studies. The animal of choice is immunized (subcutaneous or intradermal injections) with the antigen (usually a cationic substance such as methylated bovine serum albumin (m-BSA) which will bind to negatively charged cartilage and be retained in the joint). The antigen is then injected into one or both joints and acute inflammation progressing fairly rapidly to joint destruction ensues. The pathogenesis involves an Arthus reaction on the articular cartilage as antibodies to the positively charged antigen that is injected form complexes that activate complement locally and result in cartilage destruction.
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