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Immunol Rev. 2005 Apr;204:165-83.

The regulation and activation of lupus-associated B cells.

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The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) B cells are regulated in non-autoimmune mice. While some are deleted or undergo receptor editing, a population of anti-dsDNA (VH3H9/V lambda 1) B cells that emigrate into the periphery has also been identified. These cells have an altered phenotype relative to normal B cells in that they have a reduced lifespan, appear developmentally arrested, and localize primarily to the T/B-cell interface in the spleen. This phenotype may be the consequence of immature B cells encountering antigen in the absence of T-cell help. When provided with T-cell help, the anti-dsDNA B cells differentiate into antibody-forming cells. In the context of the autoimmune-prone lpr/lpr or gld/gld mutations, the VH3H9/V lambda 1 anti-dsDNA B cells populate the B-cell follicle and by 12 weeks of age produce serum autoantibodies. The early event of anti-dsDNA B-cell follicular entry, in the absence of autoantibody production, is dependent upon CD4(+) T cells. We hypothesize that control of autoantibody production in young autoimmune-prone mice may be regulated by the counterbalancing effect of T-regulatory (T(reg)) cells. Consistent with this model, we have demonstrated that T(reg) cells are able to prevent autoantibody production induced by T-cell help. Additional studies are aimed at investigating the mechanisms of this suppression as well as probing the impact of distinct forms of T-cell-dependent and -independent activation on anti-dsDNA B cells.

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