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J Immunol. 2011 Dec 15;187(12):6571-80. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1101784. Epub 2011 Nov 18.

BAFF/APRIL inhibition decreases selection of naive but not antigen-induced autoreactive B cells in murine systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Center for Autoimmunity and Musculoskeletal Diseases, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, NY 11030, USA.


BAFF inhibition is a new B cell-directed therapeutic strategy for autoimmune disease. Our purpose was to analyze the effect of BAFF/APRIL availability on the naive and Ag-activated B cell repertoires in systemic lupus erythematosus, using the autoreactive germline D42 H chain (glD42H) site-directed transgenic NZB/W mouse. In this article, we show that the naive Vκ repertoire in both young and diseased glD42H NZB/W mice is dominated by five L chains that confer no or low-affinity polyreactivity. In contrast, glD42H B cells expressing L chains that confer high-affinity autoreactivity are mostly deleted before the mature B cell stage, but are positively selected and expanded in the germinal centers (GCs) as the mice age. Of these, the most abundant is VκRF (Vκ16-104*01), which is expressed by almost all IgG anti-DNA hybridomas derived from the glD42H mouse. Competition with nonautoreactive B cells or BAFF/APRIL inhibition significantly inhibited selection of glD42H B cells at the late transitional stage, with only subtle effects on the glD42H-associated L chain repertoire. However, glD42H/VκRF-encoded B cells were still vastly overrepresented in the GC, and serum IgG anti-DNA Abs arose with only a slight delay. Thus, although BAFF/APRIL inhibition increases the stringency of negative selection of the naive autoreactive B cell repertoire in NZB/W mice, it does not correct the major breach in B cell tolerance that occurs at the GC checkpoint.

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