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Cell Rep. 2013 Apr 25;3(4):1187-98. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.03.006. Epub 2013 Apr 4.

Obesity-associated autoantibody production requires AIM to retain the immunoglobulin M immune complex on follicular dendritic cells.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biomedicine for Pathogenesis, Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Natural immunoglobulin M (IgM) is reactive to autoantigens and is believed to be important for autoimmunity. Blood pentameric IgM loaded with antigens forms a large immune complex (IC) that contains various elements, including apoptosis inhibitor of macrophage (AIM). Here we demonstrate that this IgM-AIM association contributes to autoantibody production under obese conditions. In mice fed a high-fat diet, natural IgM increased through B cell TLR4 stimulation. AIM associated with IgM and protected AIM from renal excretion, increasing blood AIM levels along with the obesity-induced IgM augmentation. Meanwhile, the AIM association inhibited IgM binding to the Fcα/μ receptor on splenic follicular dendritic cells, thereby protecting the IgM IC from Fcα/μ receptor-mediated internalization. This supported IgM-dependent autoantigen presentation to B cells, stimulating IgG autoantibody production. Accordingly, in obese AIM-deficient (AIM(-/-)) mice, the increase of multiple IgG autoantibodies observed in obese wild-type mice was abrogated. Thus, the AIM-IgM association plays a critical role in the obesity-associated autoimmune process.

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