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J Immunol. 2012 Feb 1;188(3):1460-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1102132. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Pathogenic natural antibodies propagate cerebral injury following ischemic stroke in mice.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Children's Research Institute, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29401, USA.


Self-reactive natural Abs initiate injury following ischemia and reperfusion of certain tissues, but their role in ischemic stroke is unknown. We investigated neoepitope expression in the postischemic brain and the role of natural Abs in recognizing these epitopes and mediating complement-dependent injury. A novel IgM mAb recognizing a subset of phospholipids (C2) and a previously characterized anti-annexin IV mAb (B4) were used to reconstitute and characterize injury in Ab-deficient Rag1(-/-) mice after 60 min of middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion. Reconstitution with C2 or B4 mAb in otherwise protected Rag1(-/-) mice restored injury to that seen in wild-type (wt) mice, as demonstrated by infarct volume, demyelination, and neurologic scoring. IgM deposition was demonstrated in both wt mice and reconstituted Rag1(-/-) mice, and IgM colocalized with the complement activation fragment C3d following B4 mAb reconstitution. Further, recombinant annexin IV significantly reduced infarct volumes in wt mice and in Rag1(-/-) mice administered normal mouse serum, demonstrating that a single Ab reactivity is sufficient to develop cerebral ischemia reperfusion injury in the context of an entire natural Ab repertoire. Finally, C2 and B4 mAbs bound to hypoxic, but not normoxic, human endothelial cells in vitro. Thus, the binding of pathogenic natural IgM to postischemic neoepitopes initiates complement-dependent injury following murine cerebral ischemia and reperfusion, and, based also on previous data investigating IgM reactivity in human serum, there appears to be a similar recognition system in both mouse and man.

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