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Volume 3 Supplement 2

21st European Workshop for Rheumatology Research

  • Meeting abstract
  • Open Access

In adjuvant-induced arthritis the disease-triggering adjuvant squalene accumulates in draining lymph nodes but not affected joints

  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 1, 2 and
  • 1, 3
Arthritis Research & Therapy20013 (Suppl 2) :P051

  • Received: 15 January 2001
  • Published:


  • Arthritis
  • Injection Site
  • Axillary Lymph Node
  • Squalene
  • Drain Lymph Node

Nonspecific stimulation of the immune system by adjuvants can cause joint-specific inflammation in rats, as exemplified by arthritis induced with the endogenous cholesterol precursor squalene (C30H50). To determine the uptake and distribution of injected adjuvant, and more specifically to determine whether adjuvant accumulates in affected peripheral joints, tritium-labelled squalene was used to induce arthritis in arthritis-prone DA rats. All organs, including hind paws and the site of injection, were collected at different stages of disease development. The deposition of oil was subsequently quantified by dissolving the tissues followed by scintillation counting.

The majority of injected oil never leaves the injection site, and no adjuvant oil is accumulated in the peripheral joints. Organ samples taken early prior to clinical disease and after arthritis onset displayed a similar distribution of oil, except for the draining lymph nodes and the intestines. In the draining lymph nodes, the deposition of oil accumulated over time, whereas the reverse was the case for the intestines.

A passive transfer of squalene-induced arthritis with lymph node cells was successfully accomplished, both with cells from draining inguinal lymph nodes and cells from lymph nodes not draining the injection site (axillary). Since uptake of squalene was minimal in axillary lymph nodes, this result indicates that the oil need not be present for passive transfer of the disease.

In conclusion, we report an accumulation of the arthritis triggering squalene in the draining lymph nodes but not in the peripheral joints from the time of injection to the disease onset. This uptake evokes a systemic immune activation of unknown mechanisms that subsequently lead to a joint specific inflammation.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Medicine, Unit of Rheumatology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Biomedicine, Division of NBC Defense, Defense Research Establishment, Umeå, Sweden
Department of Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden


© BioMed Central Ltd 2001