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Curr Biol. 2000 Feb 24;10(4):227-30.

Autoimmune-prone mice share a promoter haplotype associated with reduced expression and function of the Fc receptor FcgammaRII.

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Department of Medicine, Cambridge Institute of Medical Research, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Box 139, Cambridge, CB2 2XY, UK.


Human autoimmune diseases thought to arise from the combined effects of multiple susceptibility genes include systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and autoimmune diabetes. Well-characterised polygenic mouse models closely resembling each of these diseases exist, and genetic evidence links receptors for the Fc portion of immunoglobulin G (FcR) with their pathogenesis in mice and humans [1] [2] [3]. FcRs may be activatory or inhibitory and regulate a variety of immune and inflammatory processes [4] [5]. FcgammaRII (CD32) negatively regulates activation of cells including B cells and macrophages [6]. FcgammaRII-deficient mice are prone to immune-mediated disease [7] [8] [9]. The gene encoding FcgammaRII, Fcgr2, is contained in genetic susceptibility intervals in mouse models of SLE such as the New Zealand Black (NZB) contribution to the (NZB x New Zealand White (NZW)) F1 strain [1] [10] [11] and the BXSB strain [12], and in human SLE [1] [2] [3]. We therefore sequenced Fcgr2 and identified a haplotype defined by deletions in the Fcgr2 promoter region that is present in major SLE-prone mouse strains (NZB, BXSB, SB/Le, MRL, 129 [13]) and non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice but absent in control strains (BALB/c, C57BL/6, DBA/2, C57BL/10) and NZW mice. The autoimmune haplotype was associated with reduced cell-surface expression of FcgammaRII on macrophages and activated B cells and with hyperactive macrophages resembling those of FcgammaRII-deficient mice, and is therefore likely to play an important role in the pathogenesis of SLE and possibly diabetes.

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