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Mol Biol Rep. 1996;23(3-4):247-51.

T cells in murine lupus: propagation and regulation of disease.

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Section of Rheumatology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8031, USA.


MRL/Mp-lpr/lpr mice develop a spontaneous lupus syndrome, including hypergammaglobulinemia, autoantibodies, glomerulonephritis, and lymphadenopathy. To investigate the role of lymphocytes subsets in the pathogenesis of disease, lupus-prone MRL mice deficient in alpha beta T cells, gamma delta T cells, or both were generated. Mice deficient in alpha beta T cells developed a partially penetrant lupus syndrome, characterized by lymphadenopathy, elevated levels of class-switched immunoglobulins, an increased incidence of antinuclear antibodies, and immune deposits in kidneys which progressed to renal insufficiency over time. In comparison to wild type animals, gamma delta T cell-deficient animals developed an accelerated and exacerbated disease phenotype, characterized by accelerated hypergammaglobulinemia and enhanced autoantibody production and mortality. Repertoire analysis of these latter animals identified polyclonal expansion (V beta) of alpha beta CD4+ B220-cells. Mice lacking both alpha beta and gamma delta T cells failed to generate class-switched autoantibodies and immune complex renal disease. First, these findings demonstrate that murine lupus in the setting of Fas-deficiency does not absolutely require the presence of alpha beta T cells, and they also suggest that a significant basis for MRL/lpr disease, including renal disease, involves alpha beta T cell-independent, gamma delta T cell dependent, polyreactive B cell autoimmunity, upon which alpha beta T cell-dependent mechanisms aggravate specific autoimmune responses. Second, these data indicate that gamma delta T cells partake in the regulation of systemic autoimmunity, presumably via their effects on alpha beta CD4+ B220-T cells that provide B cell help. Finally, these results demonstrate that MRL/lpr B cells, despite their intrinsic abnormalities, cannot per se cause tissue injury without T cell help.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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