The fate of an autoreactive B cell is determined in part by the nature of the interaction of the B cell receptor with its autoantigen. In the lpr model of systemic autoimmunity, as well as in certain human diseases, autoreactive B cells expressing rheumatoid factor (RF) binding activity are prominent. A murine B cell transgenic model in which the B cell receptor is a RF that recognizes IgG2a of the j allotype (IgG2a(j)), but not the b allotype, was used in this study to investigate how the form of the autoantigen influences its ability to activate B cells. We found that sera from autoimmune mice, but not from nonautoimmune mice, were able to induce the proliferation of these RF+ B cells but did not stimulate B cells from RF- littermate controls. The stimulatory factor in serum was found to be IgG2a(j), but the IgG2a(j) was stimulatory only when in the form of immune complexes. Monomeric IgGa(j) failed to stimulate. Immune complexes containing lupus-associated nuclear and cytoplasmic autoantigens were particularly potent B cell activators in this system. Appropriate manipulation of such autoantibody/autoantigen complexes may eventually provide a means for therapeutic intervention in patients with certain systemic autoimmune disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy