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J Autoimmun. 2008 Jun;30(4):246-56. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

Spontaneous recovery from early glomerular inflammation is associated with resistance to anti-GBM glomerulonephritis: tolerance and autoimmune tissue injury.

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Department of Diagnostic Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Different susceptibility to anti-GBM glomerulonephritis (GN) among animal strains has been reported. Using our rat model for T cell-mediated anti-GBM GN, this study initiated an investigation on the mechanism related with GN susceptibility. Anti-GBM GN was induced either through immunization with the nephritogenic T cell epitope pCol(28-40) from Col4alpha3NC1 or through the transfer of specific T cells. WKY rats were highly susceptible to GN while immuno-compatible LEW rats were GN-resistant. GN-resistance in LEW rats was not associated to the immune response to pCol(28-40). First, both strains mounted a Th1 T cell response to pCol(28-40) with identical specificities; transfer of T cells from LEW to WKY rats induced glomerular injury. Second, co-transfer of antibody from WKY to LEW failed to induce GN. Time-course studies revealed that LEW rats did develop T cell-mediated inflammation in glomeruli at early stages similar to WKY rats, as evidenced by histopathology, proteinuria, CD4(+) T cell infiltration in glomeruli, and glomerular expression of inflammatory molecules. However, glomerular inflammation in LEW rats was transient followed by a full recovery. Thus, GN-resistance in LEW rats was due to its ability to contain early T cell-mediated autoimmune glomerular damage. Our model may reveal a potential tolerance mechanism after autoimmune tissue damage has been initiated.

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