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double stranded DNA, polylysine, B lymphocyte, immunological tolerance, immunopathogenesis, systemic lupus erythematosus


We have previously reported that immunization with a peptide mimetope of dsDNA on a branched polylysine backbone (DWEYSVWLSN-MAP) induces a systemic lupus erythematosus-like syndrome in the nonautoimmune BALB/c mouse strain. To understand the mechanism underlying this breakdown in self tolerance, we examined the role of T cells in the response. Our results show that the anti-foreign and anti-self response induced by immunization is T cell dependent and is mediated by I-Ed-restricted CD4+ T cells of the Th1 subset. In addition, generation of the critical T cell epitope requires processing by APCs and depends on the presence of both DWEYSVWLSN and the MAP backbone. The breakdown in self tolerance does not occur through cross-reactivity between the T cell epitope of DWEYSVWLSN-MAP and epitopes derived from nuclear Ags. In this induced-model of SLE, therefore, autoreactivity results from the activation of T cells specific for foreign Ag and of cross-reactive anti-foreign, anti-self B cells. Despite the fact that tissue injury is mediated by Ab, the critical initiating T cell response is Th1.


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