SLE-like autoantibodies and Sjogren's syndrome-like lymphoproliferation in TGF-β knockout mice

H. Dang, A. G. Geiser, J. J. Letterio, T. Nakabayashi, L. Kong, G. Fernandes, N. Talal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Mice bearing the TGF-β1 null mutation (-/-) develop lymphoid infiltrates in the heart, lungs, salivary glands, and other organs similar to those seen in the pseudolymphoma of Sjogren's Syndrome. We studied sera from -/- mice and found elevated Ab levels to dsDNA, ssDNA, and Sm ribonucleoprotein. No Abs to sSA/Ro or SSB/La and no IgM rheumatoid factor were found. Serum autoantibodies were predominately IgG and were specific as shown by ELISA inhibition studies. Antinuclear Ab patterns on Western blots varied from one mouse to the next, indicating a random process responsible for the diversity. Wild-type and heterozygote mice had no autoantibodies. Ig glomerular deposits were found in -/- mice, indicating that these autoantibodies may be pathogenic. Treatment of -/- mice with dexamethasone or TGF-β1 failed to suppress autoantibody production. These mice represent an overlap combining the autoimmune serology of SLE with the tissue infiltrates of SS. Our results support the concept that TGF-β1 is an important naturally occurring immunosuppressive cytokine whose absence can lead to a systemic autoimmune disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3205-3212
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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