Autoimmunity is a condition in which the host organizes an immune response against its own antigens. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology, characterized by the presence of chronic inflammatory infiltrates, the development of destructive arthropathy, bone erosion, and degradation of the articular cartilage and subchondral bone. There is currently no treatment that resolves the disease, only the use of palliatives, and not all patients respond to pharmacologic therapy. According to RA multifactorial origin, several in vivo models have been used to evaluate its pathophysiology as well as to identify the usefulness of biomarkers to predict, to diagnose, or to evaluate the prognosis of the disease. This chapter focuses on the most common in vivo models used for the study of RA, including those related with genetic, immunological, hormonal, and environmental interactions. Similarly, the potential of these models to understand RA pathogenesis and to test preventive and therapeutic strategies of autoimmune disorder is also highlighted. In conclusion, of all the animal models discussed, the CIA model could be considered the most successful by generating arthritis using type II collagen and adjuvants and evaluating therapeutic compounds both intra-articularly and systemically.
Part of the book: Experimental Animal Models of Human Diseases