Natural autoantibodies (NAA) and their associated B cells constitute a substantial proportion of the normal Ab and B cell repertoire. They often have weak reactivity toward a variety of self-Ags such as DNA, nucleoproteins, and phospholipids. It remains controversial whether NAA contribute to or protect from autoimmune diseases. Using site-directed transgenic (sd-tg) mice expressing a prototypic NAA, we investigated the effect of NAA and NAA-producing B cells in disease development in the autoimmuneprone MRL/MpJ-Fas lpr (MRL-lpr) mice. We found that the expression of NAA in MRL-lpr mice prevented proteinuria and reduced kidney immune complex formation. The mice had significantly improved survival. Administration of the IgM NAA to MRL-lpr mice also delayed the onset of nephritis. The sd-tg MRL-lpr mice had decreased levels of anti-dsDNA Abs, anti-Hep2 nuclear Abs, and anti-Sm/ribonucleoprotein Abs. There is a shift in the IgG subclass profile from IgG2a and IgG3 to IgG1 in the sd-tg MRL-lpr mice. The CD4 + T cells from the sd-tg MRL-lpr mice had increased expression of the negative costimulatory molecule CTLA-4 and increased production of IL-10 as compared with those from the wild-type mice. Furthermore, the NAA B cells produced large amounts of IL-10 upon TLR stimulation. These results indicate that NAA and NAA-producing B cells play an important role in protection from lupus nephritis and suggest that the NAA B cells may have an immune regulatory function via the provision of IL-10.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy