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This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Collagen-induced arthritis in mice is one of the most commonly used autoimmune experimental models, with many similarities to rheumatoid arthritis. Since collagen-induced arthritis is a complex polygenic disease there is a need for identification of several major disease-controlling genes. Because rheumatoid arthritis particularly affects aged women, we have in the present study identified new genetic regions critical for collagen-induced arthritis by studying aged female mice of a cross between NFR/N and B10.Q (H-2q haplotype). The mice in the present study had different reproductive histories, which did not significantly affect the onset, incidence or severity of the disease. A total of 200 female mice were used in a total genome-wide screening with 125 microsatellite markers. We found one new significant quantitative trait locus affecting the arthritis incidence, severity and day of onset on chromosome 11 (denoted Cia40), which colocalizes with a locus controlling pregnancy failure. Furthermore, a quantitative trait locus of suggestive significance associated with the incidence, severity and day of onset was identified on chromosome 1. Finally, a suggestively significant quantitative trait locus associated with collagen type II antibody titers was identified on chromosome 13. This study indicates that several gene loci control arthritis in aged multiparous females, and that at least one of these loci coincides with pregnancy failure.