The relevance of animal models of rheumatoid arthritis and their relationship to the development of antiarthritic therapies is reviewed in depth. Different mechanisms for the induction of experimental arthritis, including infectious processes, non-specific inflammation, autoimmune responses to cartilage components, and genetic manipulation are discussed in context of pathological pathways relevant to rheumatoid arthritis. A variety of species, including rats, mice, dogs, pigs, and monkey are examined for advantages and drawbacks in preclinical development of anti-arthritic agents, and their capacity to mimic critical aspects of arthritis pathology. The history of anti-arthritic therapy from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents to biological response modifiers is placed in context with the evolution of animal models of arthritis. The potential of novel models based upon targeted gene manipulations and corresponding pathway-specific drugs is examined as a new approach to identifying therapies relevant to rheumatoid disease.
Keywords: Adjuvant-induced arthritis, collagen-induced arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, streptococcal cell wall arthritis, transgenic mouse
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