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J Immunol. 2005 Feb 1;174(3):1630-7.

Sle1ab mediates the aberrant activation of STAT3 and Ras-ERK signaling pathways in B lymphocytes.

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Center for Immunology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


The Sle1ab genomic interval on murine chromosome 1 mediates the loss of immune tolerance to chromatin resulting in antinuclear Abs (ANA) production in the lupus-prone NZM2410 mouse. Global gene expression analysis was used to identify the molecular pathways that are dysregulated at the initiation of B lymphocyte autoimmunity in B6.Sle1ab mice. This analysis identified that STAT3 and ras-ERK signaling pathways are aberrantly activated in Sle1ab B lymphocytes, consistent with increased production of IL-6 by splenic B lymphocytes and monocytes in B6.Sle1ab mice. In vitro treatment of splenic mononuclear cells isolated from ANA-positive Sle1ab mice with anti-IL-6 Ab or AG490, an inhibitor of STAT3 signaling pathway, suppressed ANA production in short-term culture, indicating that this pathway was essential to the production of autoantibodies. In vivo treatment of ANA-positive B6.Sle1ab mice with the ras pathway inhibitor, perillyl alcohol, suppressed the increase of ANA. These findings identify IL-6 as a early key cytokine in Sle1ab-mediated disease development and indicate that the STAT3 and ras-ERK signaling pathways are potential therapeutic targets for treating systemic lupus erythematosus.

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