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Arthritis Res Ther. 2013 Mar 27;15(2):R47. doi: 10.1186/ar4206.

Germline deletion of β2 microglobulin or CD1d reduces anti-phospholipid antibody, but increases autoantibodies against non-phospholipid antigens in the NZB/W F1 model of lupus.



β2-microglobulin (β2m) is required for the surface expression of MHC class I and class I-like proteins such as CD1d, Qa1 and neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn), all of which may impact the development of autoimmunity. Since CD1d is known to bind and present phospholipid antigens to T cells, we asked if the deficiency of β2m or CD1d will impact the development of anti-phospholipid antibodies as compared to other aspects of lupus autoimmunity.


We introgressed the β2m-null genotype onto the NZB and NZW backgrounds for 12 to 14 generations to generate genetically lupus-susceptible (NZB/NZW)F1 (BWF1) mice that are β2m-deficient (β2m°). Circulating immunoglobulins (Ig), rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-DNA and anti-cardiolipin (anti-CL) antibodies, and renal disease were analyzed in these and CD1d-deficient (CD1d°) BWF1 mice that we had previously generated.


Whereas β2m° BWF1 mice had reduced serum IgG, they had increased mortality, nephritis, serum IgG anti-DNA antibody and RF as compared to heterozygous and wild-type littermates. These effects were recapitulated in CD1d° BWF1 mice, except that they also had increased serum IgG as compared to control littermates. Intriguingly, both β2m° and CD1d° mice had lower serum anti-CL antibody levels than in control littermates. Such CD1d dependence of anti-CL antibody production is not mediated by CD1d/glycolipid-reactive iNKT cells, as these cells reduced the production of RF and anti-DNA antibodies but had no effect on anti-CL antibodies.


We report a novel dichotomous role of β2m and CD1d, whereby these molecules differently regulate autoimmunity against phospholipid versus non-phospholipid autoantigens.

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