Irf5-deficient mice are protected from pristane-induced lupus via increased Th2 cytokines and altered IgG class switching

Authors

  • Di Feng,

    1. Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, New Jersey Medical School, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
    2. New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital Cancer Center, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
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  • Lisong Yang,

    1. Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, New Jersey Medical School, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
    2. New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital Cancer Center, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
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  • Xiaohui Bi,

    1. Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, New Jersey Medical School, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
    2. New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital Cancer Center, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
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  • Rivka C. Stone,

    1. Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, New Jersey Medical School, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
    2. New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital Cancer Center, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
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  • Priya Patel,

    1. New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital Cancer Center, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
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  • Betsy J. Barnes

    Corresponding author
    1. New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital Cancer Center, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
    • Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, New Jersey Medical School, UMDNJ, Newark, NJ, USA
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Correspondence: Prof. Betsy J. Barnes, New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital Cancer Center, G1224, 205 South Orange Ave., Newark, NJ 07103, USAFax: +1-973-972-1875e-mail: barnesbe@umdnj.edu

Abstract

Polymorphisms in the transcription factor interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) have been identified that show a strong association with an increased risk of developing the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A potential pathological role for IRF5 in SLE development is supported by the fact that increased IRF5 mRNA and protein are observed in primary blood cells of SLE patients and this correlates with an increased risk of developing the disease. Here, we demonstrate that IRF5 is required for pristane-induced SLE via its ability to control multiple facets of autoimmunity. We show that IRF5 is required for pathological hypergammaglobulinemia and, in the absence of IRF5, IgG class switching is reduced. Examination of in vivo cytokine expression (and autoantibody production) identified an increase in Irf5−/− mice of Th2 cytokines. In addition, we provide clear evidence that loss of Irf5 significantly weakens the in vivo type I IFN signature critical for disease pathogenesis in this model of murine lupus. Together, these findings demonstrate the importance of IRF5 for autoimmunity and provide a significant new insight into how overexpression of IRF5 in blood cells of SLE patients may contribute to disease pathogenesis.

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