Induced mouse models of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have been developed to complement the spontaneous models. This chapter describes the methods used in the pristane-induced model and the chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) model, both of which have been extensively used. We will also outline the specific mechanisms of systemic autoimmunity that can be best characterized using each of these models.
INTRODUCTION: An NZB-derived genetic locus (Sle2c2) that suppresses autoantibody production in a mouse model of induced systemic lupus erythematosus contains a polymorphism in the gene encoding the G-CSF receptor. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that the Sle2c2 suppression is associated with an impaired G-CSF receptor function that can be overcome by exogenous G-CSF. METHODS: Leukocytes from B6.Sle2c2 and B6 congenic mice, which carry a different allele of the G-CSF receptor, were compared for their responses to G-CSF. Autoantibody production was induced with the chronic graft-versus-host-disease (cGVHD) model by adoptive transfer of B6.bm12 splenocytes. Different treatment regimens varying the amount and frequency of G-CSF (Neulasta®) or carrier control were tested on cGVHD outcomes. Autoantibody production, immune cell activation, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were compared between the two strains with the various treatments. In addition, the effect of G-CSF treatment was examined on the production autoantibodies in the B6.Sle1.Sle2.Sle3 (B6.TC) spontaneous model of lupus. RESULTS: B6.Sle2c2 and B6 leukocytes responded differently to G-CSF. G-CSF binding by B6.Sle2c2 leukocytes was reduced as compared to B6, which was associated with a reduced expansion in response to in vivo G-CSF treatment. G-CSF in vivo treatment also failed to mobilize bone-marrow B6.Sle2c2 neutrophils as it did for B6 neutrophils. In contrast, the expression of G-CSF responsive genes indicated a higher G-CSF receptor signaling in B6.Sle2c2 cells. G-CSF treatment restored the ability of B6.Sle2c2 mice to produce autoantibodies in a dose-dependent manner upon cGVHD induction, which correlated with restored CD4+ T cells activation, as well as dendritic cell and granulocyte expansion. Steady-state ROS production was higher in B6.Sle2c2 than in B6 mice. cGVHD induction resulted in a larger increase in ROS production in B6 than in B6.Sle2c2 mice, and this difference was eliminated with G-CSF treatment. Finally, a low dose G-CSF treatment accelerated the production of anti-dsDNA IgG in young B6.TC mice. CONCLUSION: The different in vivo and in vitro responses of B6.Sle2c2 leukocytes are consistent with the mutation in the G-CSFR having functional consequences. The elimination of Sle2c2 suppression of autoantibody production by exogenous G-CSF indicates that Sle2c2 corresponds to a loss of function of G-CSF receptor. This result was corroborated by the increased anti-dsDNA IgG production in G-CSF-treated B6.TC mice, which also carry the Sle2c2 locus. Overall, these results suggest that the G-CSF pathway regulates the production of autoantibodies in murine models of lupus.
The lupus-prone NZM2410 mice present an expanded B1a cell population that we have mapped to the Sle2c1 lupus susceptibility locus. The expression of Cdkn2c, a gene encoding for cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p18(Ink4c) and located within Sle2c1, is significantly lower in B6.Sle2c1 B cells than in B6 B cells. To test the hypothesis that the B1a cell expansion in B6.Sle2c1 mice was due to a defective p18 expression, we analyzed the B1a cell phenotypes of p18-deficient C57BL/6 mice. We found a dose-dependent negative correlation between the number of B1a cells and p18 expression in B cells, with p18-deficient mice showing an early expansion of the peritoneal B1a cell pool. p18 deficiency enhanced the homeostatic expansion of B1a cells but not of splenic conventional B cells, and the elevated number of B6.Sle2c1 B1a cells was normalized by cyclin D2 deficiency. These data demonstrated that p18 is a key regulator of the size of the B1a cell pool. B6.p18(-/-) mice produced significant amounts of anti-DNA IgM and IgG, indicating that p18 deficiency contributes to humoral autoimmunity. Finally, we have shown that Sle2c1 increases lpr-associated lymphadenopathy and T cell-mediated pathology. B6.p18(-/-).lpr mice showed a greater lymphadenopathy than B6.Sle2c1.lpr mice, but their renal pathology was intermediate between that of B6.lpr and B6.Sle2c1.lpr mice. This indicated that p18-deficiency synergizes, at least partially, with lpr-mediated pathology. These results show that Cdkn2c contributes to lupus susceptibility by regulating the size of the B1a cell compartment and hence their contribution to autoimmunity.
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