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Autoimmunity. 2004 Feb;37(1):27-32.

A second heavy chain permits survival of high affinity autoreactive B cells.

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Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10462, USA.


Anti-DNA antibody is the serological hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). While antibodies with this specificity may be generated in many individuals, only patients with SLE fail to regulate them effectively. We have demonstrated previously that in non-autoimmune mice transgenic for the heavy chain of the R4A-gamma2b anti-DNA antibody, the existence of high affinity, IgG2b dsDNA binding B cells is tightly correlated with the co-expression of endogenous IgM heavy chain. These cells are anergic. In contrast, low affinity IgG2b dsDNA binding B cells do not express an endogenous heavy chain and represent a population of immunocompetent autoreactive B cells. In order to determine whether the presence of a second heavy chain permits the high affinity autoreactive B cells to escape deletion, the R4A-gamma2b mouse was mated to a strain with a targeted deletion of the transmembrane portion of the mu heavy chain, muMT mice, to produce R4A-gamma2b/muKO mice. Serum titers of anti-DNA antibodies were negligible in both R4A-gamma2b and R4A-gamma2b/muKO mice. In R4A-gamma2b/muKO mice, however, LPS was able to activate a DNA-reactive population although an LPS inducible DNA-reactive population. Light chain gene usage in transgene expressing B cells from R4A-gamma2b/muKO mice was similar to that of the previously defined low affinity anti-DNA B cells that escape tolerance. These data suggest a requirement for a second heavy chain for the survival of this anergic B cell subset.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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