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J Rheumatol. 1999 Feb;26(2):294-301.

CpG motif-containing DNA fragments from sera of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus proliferate mononuclear cells in vitro.

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  • 1Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, Fukushima-city, Japan.



To characterize DNA in sera of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in terms of size, guanine plus cytosine (G+C) content (by percentage), CpG dinucleotide (CpG) (percentage), and effects on mononuclear cells (MNC).


Nine DNA clones were sequenced. Oligodeoxynucleotides with the characteristic CpG motif (TTCGAA or PuPuCGPyPy) were examined for their proliferative effect on MNC by [3H]thymidine incorporation, expression of HLA-DR and intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 on monocytes by flow cytometry, and mRNA levels encoding interleukin 12 (IL-12) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) by semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.


The size of DNA clones ranged from 87 to 318 bp (mean +/- SD, 177+/-68) and enrichment in G+C and CpG ranged from 34.7 to 69.7% (48.1+/-10.7) and 0.63 to 12.8% (4.0+/-4.1), respectively. Three of 9 clones contained the characteristic CpG motif. Oligonucleotides proliferated MNC, and augmented HLA-DR and ICAM-1 expression in company with an increase of mRNA encoding IL-12 and IFN-gamma.


Circulating CpG motif-containing DNA fragments in SLE increased mRNA encoding IL-12 and IFN-gamma, which in turn increased HLA-DR and ICAM-1 on monocytes, resulting in MNC proliferation. This mechanism could contribute to the pathogenesis of SLE.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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