Antioxidants suppress mortality in the female NZB x NZW F1 mouse model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Inflammation produces reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) that cause vascular damage and activate T lymphocytes. Conversely, antioxidants not only protect tissue from oxidative damage but also suppress immune reactivity. The objective of this study was to examine immunomodulatory effects of the non-enzymatic antioxidants, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and cysteamine (CYST), on autoimmune disease, glomerulonephritis, and mortality in the female B/W mouse model of human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The development of murine lupus was assessed during the lifespan of female B/W mice given NAC or CYST. Morbidity and mortality were assessed daily. At 6 week intervals mice were examined for weight change, albuminuria, serum BUN, antibodies to DNA, and IgG immunoglobulin levels. Serum prolactin, estrogen and progesterone were measured at 18 weeks of age. In a parallel study, NAC- and CYST-treated and control B/W mice were examined at 24 weeks of age for interval renal histopathology, lymphocyte adhesion molecule expression, and antibody titers and in vitro cytokine production in response to immunization with DNP-KLH. CYST significantly suppressed development of albuminuria and azotemia at 36 and 42 weeks of age compared to control and NAC-treated mice. NAC significantly suppressed anti-DNA antibody levels at 24 weeks. In contrast CYST significantly increased anti-DNA antibody levels at 18 weeks of age (P < 0.001 CYST vs control and NAC-treated mice). Kidneys of CYST-treated mice also had accelerated inflammatory histologic changes despite their lower incidence of albuminuria and azotemia. Mean (+/- s.e.m.) survival of control mice was 33 +/- 2 weeks compared to 38 +/- 2 weeks in NAC-treated mice (P < 0.05 vs control), and 48 +/- 2 weeks in the CYST-treated group (P < 0.01 vs control mice). The antioxidants, NAC and CYST, significantly improved mortality in the female B/W mouse model of SLE. NAC suppressed autoantibody formation and modestly prolonged survival. CYST, despite its augmentation of anti-DNA levels and renal inflammatory changes, inhibited the development of renal insufficiency and markedly improved survival. These findings suggest that ROIs play a role in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis and that antioxidants reduce the damage causing renal insufficiency. Antioxidants may be a beneficial adjunctive therapy in the treatment of human SLE.
Suwannaroj, S; Lagoo, A; Keisler, D; McMurray, RW
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