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Nature. 1991 Jan 24;349(6307):331-4.

Expression of anti-DNA immunoglobulin transgenes in non-autoimmune mice.

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Institute for Cancer Research, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19111.


Self-reactive B cells can be regulated by either deletion or inactivation. These manifestations of self-tolerance have been dramatically shown in transgenic mice in which the number of self-reactive cells has been artificially expanded. We have now extended these models to ask if B-cell tolerance as described for non-disease-associated antigens also operates for the targets of autoimmunity. The target we have chosen is DNA. Anti-DNA antibodies are diagnostic of certain autoimmune syndromes in humans and are a characteristic of the murine model of systemic autoimmunity, the MRl/lpr mouse. Antibodies to both single-stranded and double-stranded DNA have been implicated in disease. By generating anti-DNA transgenic mice, we have addressed the question of whether DNA-specific B cells are regulated in normal (non-autoimmune) mice. We indeed found that most transgenic B cells bind DNA, yet we failed to detect secreted anti-DNA. We suggest that as a consequence of their self-reactivity these B cells are developmentally arrested.

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