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J Immunol. 1988 Apr 1;140(7):2197-200.

Hydralazine and procainamide inhibit T cell DNA methylation and induce autoreactivity.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109.


Inhibitors of DNA methylation, such as 5-azacytidine, induce gene expression. We have previously reported that cloned T cells treated with 5-azacytidine lose the requirement for Ag and can be activated by autologous HLA-D molecules alone, thus becoming auto-reactive. This phenomenon could potentially mediate an autoimmune disease in vivo. Inasmuch as several drugs are known to cause autoimmune disease, we asked whether they exert the same effects on T cells as 5-azacytidine. We report that hydralazine and procainamide, two drugs associated with a lupus-like autoimmune disease, also inhibit DNA methylation and induce self-reactivity in cloned T cell lines. These results suggest that drug-induced autoimmune disease may be due to activation of as yet unidentified genes through mechanisms involving DNA methylation.

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