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J Exp Med. 2004 Jan 19;199(2):255-64. Epub 2004 Jan 12.

Breaking tolerance to double stranded DNA, nucleosome, and other nuclear antigens is not required for the pathogenesis of lupus glomerulonephritis.

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  • 1The University of Virginia Specialized Center of Research on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


In lupus-prone NZM2328 mice, a locus Cgnz1 on chromosome 1 was linked to chronic glomerulonephritis, severe proteinuria, and early mortality in females. A locus Adnz1 on chromosome 4 was linked to antinuclear antibody (ANA) and anti-double stranded DNA (dsDNA) antibody (Ab) production. In this investigation, two congenic strains, NZM2328.C57L/Jc1 (NZM.C57Lc1) and NZM2328.C57L/Jc4 (NZM.C57Lc4), were generated by replacing the respective genetic intervals containing either Cgnz1 or Adnz1 with those from C57L/J, a nonlupus-prone strain. The NZM.C57Lc1 females had markedly reduced incidence of chronic glomerulonephritis and severe proteinuria. NZM.C57Lc4 females had chronic glomerulonephritis and severe proteinuria without circulating ANA, anti-dsDNA, and antinucleosome Ab. These data confirm the linkage analysis. Unexpectedly, NZM.C57Lc1 females had little anti-dsDNA and related Ab, suggesting the presence of a second locus Adnz2 on chromosome 1. The diseased NZM.C57Lc4 kidneys had immune complexes by immunofluorescence and electron microscopy. The eluates from these kidneys did not contain ANA, anti-dsDNA, and antinucleosome Ab, indicative of the presence of non-anti-dsDNA nephritogenic Ab. Thus, breaking tolerance to dsDNA and chromatin is not required for the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. These results reaffirm that anti-dsDNA and related Ab production and chronic glomerulonephritis are under independent genetic control. These findings have significant implications in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus.

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