Induction of cross-reactive anti-dsDNA antibodies in preautoimmune NZB/NZW mice by immunization with bacterial DNA.
To investigate the role of antigen drive in anti-double-stranded (ds) DNA production, the antibody response induced in lupus-prone NZB/NZW mice by E. coli (EC) dsDNA was evaluated. Preautoimmune NZB/NZW female mice were immunized with complexes of EC dsDNA with methylated bovine serum albumin (mBSA) in complete Freund's adjuvant; control mice received either mBSA complexes with calf thymus (CT) dsDNA or mBSA alone in adjuvant. IgG antibody responses were assessed by ELISA. Similar to normal mice, immunized NZB/NZW mice produced significant levels of anti-dsDNA when measured with EC dsDNA as antigen. Whereas normal mice produce antibodies which are specific for the immunizing bacterial DNA, NZB/NZW mice produced antibodies that bound crossreactively to CT dsDNA by ELISA. Furthermore, the induced antibodies resembled lupus anti-DNA in their fine specificity for polynucleotide antigens and reactivity with Crithidia luciliae DNA. Despite their response to EC dsDNA, NZB/NZW mice immunized with CT dsDNA failed to generate significant anti-dsDNA responses. These results provide further evidence for the enhanced immunogenicity of bacterial DNA and suggest that immune cell abnormalities in NZB/NZW mice promote the generation of crossreactive autoantibody responses when confronted with a foreign DNA.
Gilkeson, GS; Pippen, AM; Pisetsky, DS
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