To evaluate the disease-modulating role of HLA-DR2 and DR3 molecules, which have been associated with systemic lupus erythematosus, a humanized mouse model was examined. HLA-DR2 (DRB1*1502)- and DR3 (DRB1*0301)-transgenic mice were backcrossed to the New Zealand Mixed 2410 (NZM 2410, H2z) strain. Seventh generation DR2 and DR3 transgene-positive animals along with their transgene-negative littermates and the parental strain NZM2410 were monitored for proteinuria, azotemia, autoantibody production, development of nephritis, and mortality. The results showed no significant differences in proteinuria, azotemia, or mortality between the backcrosses with and without HLA-DR2 or HLA-DR3. However, the genetic analysis of different backcrosses showed that heterozygosity at the endogenous H2-E locus (Ez/Eb) was strongly linked with acceleration of lupus nephritis in both HLA-DR2 and HLA-DR3 transgenics. More importantly, the presence of the HLA-DR2, but not the HLA-DR3, transgene significantly enhanced the production of anti-dsDNA, but not anti-ssDNA, anti-histone-dsDNA complex, or anti-histone, Abs. In contrast, neither HLA-DR2 nor HLA-DR3 influenced the development of glomerulonephritis or the degree of immune complex deposition. Moreover, nephritic kidneys from mice with and without HLA-DR2 or HLA-DR3 transgenes showed similar patterns of cytokine expression. Collectively, these findings provide molecular evidence that the association of HLA-DR2 or HLA-DR3 with lupus susceptibility is related to the type of autoantibody rather than to disease mortality. The use of a humanized mouse model provides a way of dissecting the roles of human MHC genes in systemic lupus erythematosus pathogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy