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J Immunol. 1997 Mar 15;158(6):3009-16.

Kinetics of cytokine production in experimental systemic lupus erythematosus: involvement of T helper cell 1/T helper cell 2-type cytokines in disease.

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Department of Immunology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


We followed cytokine production from induction through disease progression in a murine model of experimental systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). SLE was induced by immunization with the human monoclonal anti-DNA Ab that bears the common Id designated 16/6 Id. BALB/c and C3H.SW mice that are susceptible to SLE induction and C57BL/6 mice that are resistant were immunized with the 16/6 Id. Cytokine production was tested periodically for 7 mo. Increased production of IL-2 and IFN-gamma, the Th1-type cytokines, was detected in BALB/c and C3H.SW mice 2 to 4 mo following immunization. IL-4 and IL-10, the Th2-type cytokines predominated later in disease course, and peaked 5 mo following disease induction. At this stage the Th1 type cytokines dropped to levels below those observed in controls. IL-4 production also dropped rapidly to very low levels, while IL-10 production decreased but remained above control levels. The ratio of IgG2a/IgG1 of DNA and 16/6 Id-specific Abs peaked at 2 mo following disease induction and decreased later, in concordance with the higher production of Th2-type cytokines. Thus, the development of experimental SLE in mice involves two stages: increased production of Th1-type, followed by increased induction of Th2-type cytokines. High levels of the proinflammatory cytokines, TNF-alpha and IL-1, were maintained throughout disease course. No significant changes were detected in the cytokine profile of C57BL/6 immunocytes following immunization with the 16/6 Id, supporting the possible role of the cytokine network in SLE.

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