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Abstract

Objective

To analyze the mechanism for the therapeutic effects of tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) inhibition in a murine model of systemic lupus erythematosus.

Methods

We used the (NZB × NZW)F1 (NZB/NZW) mouse model of interferon-α–induced lupus nephritis and treated mice with TNF receptor type II (TNFRII) Ig after TNFα expression was detected in the kidneys. Autoantibodies were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and autoantibody- forming cells were determined using an enzyme-linked immunospot assay. Activation of splenocytes was analyzed by flow cytometry. Kidneys were harvested and analyzed using flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, ELISA, Western blotting, and real-time polymerase chain reaction.

Results

TNFRII Ig treatment stabilized nephritis and markedly prolonged survival. Autoantibody production and systemic immune activation were not inhibited, but the renal response to glomerular immune complex deposition was attenuated. This was associated with decreases in renal production of chemokines, renal endothelial cell activation, interstitial F4/80high macrophage accumulation, tubular damage, and oxidative stress. In contrast, perivascular lymphoid aggregates containing B cells, T cells, and dendritic cells accumulated unabated.

Conclusion

Our data suggest that TNFα is a critical cytokine that amplifies the response of the nephron to immune complex deposition, but that it has less influence on the response of the systemic vasculature to inflammation.