Streptococcal and staphylococcal superantigen-induced lymphocytic arteritis in a local type experimental model: Comparison with acute vasculitis in the arthus reaction

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      Many pathogenic bacteria produce superantigenic exotoxins. To study their pathogenetic role, in particular to test whether these toxins are able to induce vasculitis, we developed a local-type experimental model in rabbits. Toxins were injected along the intermediate auricular artery of the ear. The histology of ear skin, including the artery, was examined after single or repeated injections. Repeated injections of streptococcal erythrogenic toxins produced chronic-type arteritis characteristic of lymphocytic infiltration, whereas single injection induced no acute-type vasculitis. Staphylococcal enterotoxin B and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 also induced the same type of arteritis, although weaker in degree. In human patients these lesions are similar to those of Kawasaki disease, a systemic vasculitis with unknown etiology. The Arthus reaction to human serum albumin in immunized rabbits included acute-type vasculitis similar to polyarteritis nodosa when examined in this model. Microvasculitis lesions similar to leukoclastic vasculitis were combined in the Arthus reaction but not in the superantigen-induced lesions. Our experimental model described here is widely applicable to the study of the etiology and pathogenesis of human diseases involving vasculitis lesions.


      BSA (bovine serum albumin), Con A (concanavalin A), ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent asscy), ET (erythrogenic toxin), ETA (erythrogenic toxin type A), ETC (erythrogenic toxin type C), HSA (human serum albumin), IgG (immunoglobulin G), KD (Kawasaki disease), PBS (phosphate-buffered saline solution), SAG (superantigen), SE (staphylococcal enterotoxin), STSS (streptococcal toxic shock syndrome), TSST-1 (toxic shock syndrome toxin 1), TCR V β (β chain of the variable portion of T cell antigen receptor)
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