Antibodies of the IgG3 subclass have been implicated in the pathogenesis of the spontaneous glomerulonephritis observed in mice of the MRL/MpJ-Tnfrsf6lpr (MRL/lpr) inbred strain which have been widely studied as a model of systemic lupus erythematosus We have produced IgG3-deficient (-/-) mice with the MRL/lpr genetic background to determine whether IgG3 antibodies are necessary for or at least contributory to MRL/lpr-associated nephritis.
The gamma3 genotype (+/+ vs. +/- vs. -/-) did not appear to significantly affect serum titers of IgG auto-antibodies specific for double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) or α-actinin. However, while substantial serum titers of IgG3 auto-antibodies specific for double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) or α-actinin were seen in gamma3 +/+ mice, somewhat lower serum titers of these IgG3 auto-antibodies were found in gamma3 +/- mice, and gamma3 -/- mice exhibited baseline concentrations of these auto-antibodies. Analysis of immunoglobulins eluted from snap-frozen kidneys obtained from mice of all three gamma3 genotypes at ~18 weeks of age revealed much higher quantities of IgG in the kidneys from gamma3 +/+ than gamma3 -/- mice, and most IgG eluted from +/+ mice was IgG3. The serum creatinine levels in gamma3 +/+ mice substantially exceeded those of age-matched gamma3 -/- mice after ~21 weeks of age. Histopathological examination of kidneys from mice sacrificed at pre-determined ages also revealed more extensive glomerulosclerosis in gamma3 +/+ or +/- mice than in -/- mice beginning at 21 weeks of age. Survival analysis for IgG3-deficient and IgG3-producing MRL/lpr mice revealed that gamma3 -/- mice lived significantly longer (p = 0.0006) than either gamma3 +/- or +/+ mice. Spontaneous death appeared to be due to irreversible renal failure, because > 85% of glomeruli in kidneys from mice that died spontaneously were obliterated by glomerulosclerosis.
The available evidence suggests that IgG3 deficiency partially protects MRL/lpr mice against glomerulonephritis-associated morbidity and mortality by slowing or arresting the progression to glomerulosclerosis.
This article was reviewed by Pushpa Pandiyan, Irun Cohen, and Etienne Joly.