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J Immunol. 2014 May 15;192(10):4525-32. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1400098. Epub 2014 Apr 7.

Opposing impact of B cell-intrinsic TLR7 and TLR9 signals on autoantibody repertoire and systemic inflammation.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195;


Systemic lupus erythematosus is a multisystem autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibodies targeting nucleic acid-associated Ags. The endosomal TLRs TLR7 and TLR9 are critical for generation of Abs targeting RNA- or DNA-associated Ags, respectively. In murine lupus models, deletion of TLR7 limits autoimmune inflammation, whereas deletion of TLR9 exacerbates disease. Whether B cell or myeloid TLR7/TLR9 signaling is responsible for these effects has not been fully addressed. In this study, we use a chimeric strategy to evaluate the effect of B cell-intrinsic deletion of TLR7 versus TLR9 in parallel lupus models. We demonstrate that B cell-intrinsic TLR7 deletion prevents RNA-associated Ab formation, decreases production of class-switched Abs targeting nonnuclear Ags, and limits systemic autoimmunity. In contrast, B cell-intrinsic TLR9 deletion results in decreased DNA-reactive Ab, but increased Abs targeting a broad range of systemic autoantigens. Further, we demonstrate that B cell-intrinsic TLR9 deletion results in increased systemic inflammation and immune complex glomerulonephritis, despite intact TLR signaling within the myeloid compartment. These data stress the critical importance of dysregulated B cell-intrinsic TLR signaling in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus.

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