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Int Immunol. 2001 Sep;13(9):1155-63.

Murine models of systemic lupus erythematosus: B and T cell responses to spliceosomal ribonucleoproteins in MRL/Fas(lpr) and (NZB x NZW)F(1) lupus mice.

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Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, UPR 9021 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 15 rue René Descartes, 6700 Strasbourg, France.


(NZB x NZW)F(1) and MRL/Fas(lpr) lupus mice present a similar phenotype with a spectrum of autoantibodies associated with very severe nephritis. It is thought, however, that in contrast to other lupus-prone mice such as MRL/Fas(lpr) mice, (NZB x NZW)F(1) mice do not generate autoantibodies to ribonucleoproteins (RNP) Sm/RNP. In this study, we demonstrate that contrary to previous reports, the autoimmune response directed against Sm/RNP antigens also occurs in NZB x NZW mice. CD4(+) T cells from unprimed 10-week-old NZB x NZW mice proliferate and secrete IL-2 in response to peptide 131-151 of the U1-70K protein, which is known to contain a T(h) epitope recognized by CD4(+) T cells from MRL/Fas(lpr) mice. Peptide 131-151, which was found to bind I-A(k) and I-E(k) class II MHC molecules, also bound both I-A(d) and I-E(d) molecules. This result led us to also re-evaluate longitudinally the anti-Sm/RNP antibody response in NZB x NZW mice. We found that 25-week-old mice do produce antibodies reacting with several small nuclear and heterogeneous nuclear (hn) RNP proteins, such as SmD1, U1-70K and hnRNP A2/B1 proteins. The fine specificity of these antibodies was studied with overlapping synthetic peptides. The same antigenically positive and negative peptides were characterized in MRL/Fas(lpr) and NZB x NZW mice in the three proteins. This new finding can help to understand the mechanisms involved in the development of the anti-Sm/RNP antibody response and, particularly, the role played by non-MHC genes in this autoimmune response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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