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1.  IgG3 deficiency extends lifespan and attenuates progression of glomerulonephritis in MRL/lpr mice 
Biology Direct  2012;7:3.
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.
PMCID: PMC3293080  PMID: 22248284
2.  Enhanced immunogenicity of pneumococcal surface adhesin A (PsaA) in mice via fusion to recombinant human B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) 
Biology Direct  2011;6:9.
B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily of ligands that mediates its action through three known receptors. BLyS has been shown to enhance the production of antibodies against heterologous antigens when present at elevated concentrations, supporting an immunostimulatory role for BLyS in vivo.
We constructed a fusion protein consisting of human BLyS and Pneumococcal Surface Adhesin A (PsaA) and used this molecule to immunize mice. The immunostimulatory attributes mediated by BLyS in vivo were evaluated by characterizing immune responses directed against PsaA.
The PsaA-BLyS fusion protein was able to act as a co-stimulant for murine spleen cell proliferation induced with F(ab')2 fragments of anti-IgM in vitro in a fashion similar to recombinant BLyS, and immunization of mice with the PsaA-BLyS fusion protein resulted in dramatically elevated serum antibodies specific for PsaA. Mice immunized with PsaA admixed with recombinant BLyS exhibited only modest elevations in PsaA-specific responses following two immunizations, while mice immunized twice with PsaA alone exhibited undetectable PsaA-specific serum antibody responses. Sera obtained from PsaA-BLyS immunized mice exhibited high titers of IgG1, IgG2a, IgG2b, and IgG3, but no IgA, while mice immunized with PsaA admixed with BLyS exhibited only elevated titers of IgG1 following two immunizations. Splenocytes from PsaA-BLyS immunized mice exhibited elevated levels of secretion of IL-2, IL-4 and IL-5, and a very modest but consistent elevation of IFN-γ following in vitro stimulation with PsaA. In contrast, mice immunized with either PsaA admixed with BLyS or PsaA alone exhibited modestly elevated to absent PsaA-specific recall responses for the same cytokines. Mice deficient for one of the three receptors for BLyS designated Transmembrane activator, calcium modulator, and cyclophilin ligand [CAML] interactor (TACI) exhibited attenuated PsaA-specific serum antibody responses following immunization with PsaA-BLyS relative to wild-type littermates. TACI-deficient mice also exhibited decreased responsiveness to a standard pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
This study identifies covalent attachment of BLyS as a highly effective adjuvant strategy that may yield improved vaccines. In addition, this is the first report demonstrating an unexpected role for TACI in the elicitation of antibodies by the PsaA-BLyS fusion protein.
This article was reviewed by Jonathan Yewdell, Rachel Gerstein, and Michael Cancro (nominated by Andy Caton).
PMCID: PMC3055212  PMID: 21306646

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