LPS-matured CD11c+ bone marrow-derived dendritic cells can initiate autoimmune pathology with minimal injection site inflammation

L. Saul, D. Besusso, R. J. Mellanby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathogenesis of human autoimmune disorders is incompletely understood. This has led to the develop- ment of numerous murine models in which the pathogenesis of autoimmunity can be probed and the efficacy of novel therapies can be tested. One of the most widely-used murine models of autoimmunity is experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). To induce autoimmune pathology, mice are often immunized with an autoantigen alongside an adjuvant, typically complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA). Unfortunately, CFA causes significant inflammation at the site of administration. Despite the well-recognized complication of injection site inflammation, CFA with autoantigen immunization is widely used to induce central nervous system autoimmunity. We performed a literature review which allowed us to estimate that over 10,000 mice were immunized with CFA in published EAE studies in 2013. In this study, we demonstrated that subcutaneously administered myelin basic protein (MBP)-pulsed CD11cþ bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDC) were as effective at inducing EAE as subcutaneously administered MBP plus CFA. Importantly, we also discovered that the CD11cþ BMDC caused significantly less injection site inflammation than MBP plus CFA immuniza- tion. This study demonstrated that the use of CD11cþ BMDC can enable the development of autopathogenic T-cells to be studied in vivo without the unwanted side-effects of long-lasting injection site inflammation. This model represents a significant refinement to existing EAE models and may lead to the improvement of the welfare of experimental mice used to study the development of autoimmunity in vivo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-300
JournalLaboratory Animals
Issue number3
Early online date3 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • refinement
  • mice
  • autoimmune
  • complete Freund’s adjuvant
  • bone marrow dendritic cells
  • experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis


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