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Arthritis Rheum. 2011 Mar;63(3):764-74. doi: 10.1002/art.30146.

The NZM2410-derived lupus susceptibility locus Sle2c1 increases Th17 polarization and induces nephritis in fas-deficient mice.

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University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0275, USA.



Sle2 is a lupus susceptibility locus that has been linked to glomerulonephritis in the NZM2410 mouse. By itself, Sle2 does not induce any autoimmune pathology but results in the accumulation of B-1a cells. This study was designed to assess the contribution of Sle2 to the pathogenesis of autoimmunity.


Sle2 or its subcongenic intervals (Sle2a, Sle2b, and Sle2c1) were bred to Fas-deficient B6.lpr mice. Lymphoid phenotypes, which were focused on T cells, were assessed by flow cytometry, and histopathologic changes were compared between cohorts of B6.Sle2.lpr congenic mice and B6.lpr mice of ages up to 6 months.


Sle2 synergized with lpr, resulting in a greatly accelerated lymphadenopathy that largely targeted T cells and mapped to the Sle2c1 locus. This locus has been identified as the main contributor to B-1a cell expansion. Further analyses showed that Sle2c1 expression skewed the differentiation and polarization of Fas-deficient T cells, with a reduction of the CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cell subset and an expansion of the Th17 cells. This was associated with a high number of T cell infiltrates that promoted severe nephritis and dermatitis in the B6.Sle2c1.lpr mice.


These results show that Sle2c1 contributes to lupus pathogenesis by affecting T cell differentiation in combination with other susceptibility loci, such as lpr. The significance of the cosegregation of this phenotype and B-1a cell expansion in Sle2c1-expressing mice in relation to the pathogenesis of lupus is discussed.

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