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Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1998 Apr;87(1):23-32.

Enhanced lymphoproliferation and diminished autoimmunity in CD4-deficient MRL/lpr mice.

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Department of Medicine, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California 94121, USA.


MRL/lpr mice spontaneously develop an autoimmune disease with features of systemic lupus erythematosus. They also develop a lymphoproliferative disorder characterized by a massive accumulation of double-negative (DN) T cells that lack both CD4 and CD8. To clarify the role of CD4 in autoimmunity and lymphoproliferation in these mice, CD4-deficient MRL/lpr mice were generated. CD4-deficient MRL/lpr mice developed massive expansion of DN T cells in the blood, spleen, and lymph nodes, which significantly exceeded the degree of lymphoproliferation in CD4-expressing control MRL/lpr mice. Despite this lymphoproliferation, CD4-deficient MRL/lpr mice produced little, if any, antibodies to double-stranded DNA, and they had prolonged survival relative to CD4-expressing littermates. However, they eventually developed moderately severe nephritis, characterized by immunoglobulin and complement deposition in glomeruli, vasculitis, and renal infiltration by CD8+ T cells. These findings indicate that (1) lymphoproliferation in MRL/lpr mice does not require the expression of CD4; (2) autoantibody production in MRL/lpr mice is dependent on the expression of CD4 and not on the accumulation of DN T cells; and (3) the development of nephritis in MRL/lpr mice involves both CD4-dependent and CD4-independent mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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