Increased proto-oncogene expression in peripheral blood lymphocytes from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and other autoimmune diseases

Authors

  • D. T. Boumpas MD,

    1. Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, Division of Cancer Etiology, National Cancer Institute, and the Kidney Diseases Section, National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • Dr. G. C. Tsokos MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, Division of Cancer Etiology, National Cancer Institute, and the Kidney Diseases Section, National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
    • National Institutes of Health, NIADDK, Building 10, Room 3N-114, Bethesda, MD 20892
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  • D. L. Mann MD,

    1. Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, Division of Cancer Etiology, National Cancer Institute, and the Kidney Diseases Section, National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • E. G. Eleftheriades,

    Medical Student
    1. Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, Division of Cancer Etiology, National Cancer Institute, and the Kidney Diseases Section, National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • C. C. Harris MD,

    1. Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, Division of Cancer Etiology, National Cancer Institute, and the Kidney Diseases Section, National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • G. E. Mark PhD

    1. Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, Division of Cancer Etiology, National Cancer Institute, and the Kidney Diseases Section, National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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Abstract

Using RNA hybridization techniques, we examined the expression of proto-oncogenes associated with lymphocyte activation in vitro in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and other autoimmune diseases. T and B lymphocytes from these patients were found to have significantly increased expression of c-myc, c-myb, and c-raf RNA when compared with those of normal individuals. Among the mononuclear cell subpopulations, B lymphocytes expressed higher levels of RNA for these proto-oncogenes compared with the T lymphocytes. Since prompt expression of these and other proto-oncogenes occurs in fibroblasts and lymphocytes following mitogenic stimulation, we propose that the present findings reflect the pathologically activated state of various lymphocytic subpopulations which is observed in systemic lupus erythematosus and in other autoimmune diseases. Endogenous and exogenous factors which lead to the expression of autoimmunity might share the induction of proto-oncogene expression as a common pathogenetic step.

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