Defective antigen-receptor-mediated regulation of immunoglobulin production in B cells from autoimmune strains of mice
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B cells are stimulated by antigens or by polyclonal activators such as bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to produce antibody. In nonautoimmune strains of mice, LPS-stimulated antibody responses are inhibited by crosslinking the B cell antigen-receptor (BCR), while antigen-driven responses are shut down by cocrosslinking the BCR and the receptor for the Fc portion of IgG (FcγR). BCR signals are poor at shutting off LPS-induced antibody production, including antiss-DNA antibody production, in B cells from NZB, NZB/WF1, and BXSB lupus-prone mice but not MRL/lpr or NZW mice. In the current studies, the defect in NZB B cells was shown to be independent of T cells and macrophages. The inheritance pattern of resistance to BCR ligation of LPS-induced Ig production in BXSB mice could not be assigned to either founding strain. In New Zealand mixed (NZM) recombinant inbred mice, slightly but significantly more resistance was found in a line (NZM2410) that demonstrates a greater degree of clinical autoimmunity than another line (NZM64) with fewer autoimmune problems. The autoimmune defect is specific to BCR signals because inhibition of LPS activation by ligation of MHC class II occurs normally in NZB B cells. Bypassing the BCR by direct stimulation of second messengers with phorbol esters or ionomycin did not overcome the defect, suggesting that defects in downstream signaling events, rather than in the BCR mechanism itself, are responsible for the reduced ability to inhibit the LPS response in NZB B cells. The inability of the BCR signaling pathway to control LPS-induced Ig production in NZB mice was apparent at the level of Hμ-chain mRNA for secreted IgM. These results suggest that autoimmunity-associated B cell defects in BCR signaling and subsequent regulation of LPS-driven antibody responses have a number of inheritance patterns and involve downstream events in signaling pathways in B cells. The defect can result in aberrant regulation of Hμchain mRNA levels for secreted IgM production, and may be a predisposing factor in murine systemic autoimmune disease. © 1995 Academic Press. All rights reserved.