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J Immunol. 1998 Jan 1;160(1):502-8.

A model of peptide-induced lupus autoimmune B cell epitope spreading is strain specific and is not H-2 restricted in mice.

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  • 1College of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City 73104, USA. jamesj@omrf.ouhsc.edu


Anti-Sm is a common and specific autoantibody found in systemic lupus erythematosus. The peptide PPPGMRPP from Sm B/B' is an early target of the autoimmune response in some anti-Sm-positive human patients. After immunization with this peptide on a MAP backbone, rabbits develop anti-Sm autoantibodies with B cell epitope spreading of the autoimmune response as well as other features of lupus autoimmunity. Various strains of inbred mice have been immunized with peptide PPPGMRPP or PSQQVMTP (nonantigenic region of Sm B/B') in Freund's adjuvant or with no peptide. All peptide-immunized mouse strains eventually develop high titers of specific anti-peptide of immunization Abs. Mice immunized with Freund's adjuvant alone have no measurable Ab binding to the PPPGMRPP peptide. With time, nearly half the mouse strains tested develop Abs that react with additional regions of Sm B/B' and Sm D. All the regions bound by mouse serum are major epitopes of the human systemic lupus erythematosus anti-Sm response. These same strains also develop significant anti-Sm and anti-nuclear ribonucleoprotein titers. In addition, some of these strains demonstrate positive anti-nuclear Abs and anti-dsDNA Abs. Experiments with congenic H-2 mice demonstrate that the H-2 region does not play a role in spreading the immune response from the peptide of immunization to other epitopes of the spliceosome. These results present a new murine model of B cell epitope spreading and lupus autoimmunity induced by peptide immunization that is strain specific and not apparently dependent upon the loci at H-2.

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