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Arthritis Research & Therapy

Open Access

Overexpression of TNF causes bilateral sacroiliitis

  • K Redlich1,
  • B Görtz1,
  • S Hayer1,
  • J Zwerina1,
  • G Kollias2,
  • G Steiner1, 3,
  • JS Smolen1, 3 and
  • G Schett1
Arthritis Res Ther20046(Suppl 1):32

Received: 16 January 2004

Published: 24 February 2004


Public HealthNegative ControlMouse ModelInfliximabTreated Mouse


To study the role of TNF in sacroiliitis using a TNF-α transgenic (hTNFtg) mouse model.


hTNFtg mice were divided into two groups receiving either phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or anti-TNF (infliximab). Wild-type mice served as negative control. Treatment was initiated at week 4 and continued over 6 weeks. Thereafter the sacroiliic joints were histologically assessed for joints inflammation, local bone erosion and cartilage destruction.


All hTNFtg mice showed a severe bilateral sacroiliitis. Treatment of hTNFtg mice with anti-TNF, however, resulted in a significant (P < 0.05), over 80% reduction in sacroiliacal inflammation. Furthermore, in hTNFtg mice severe erosions of the iliac as well as sacral sub-chondral bones were detectable, whereas treatment with anti-TNF virtually abrogated local bone erosions indicated by a reduction by over 99%. In addition, application of anti-TNF also significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the numbers of osteoclasts at the front of erosions by 98% compared with PBS-treated hTNFtg mice. The amount of sacroiliac cartilage of hTNFtg mice was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced by 73% compared with anti-TNF treated mice.


These data clearly indicate that TNF overexpression causes bilateral, erosive sacroiliitis and that anti-TNF therapy is a suitable tool with which to treat this condition.

Authors’ Affiliations

Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, University of Vienna, Austria
Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Institute of Immunology, Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center, Vari, Greece
Center of Molecular Medicine, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria


© The Author(s) 2004