Monoclonal anti-erythrocyte autoantibodies derived from NZB mice cause autoimmune hemolytic anemia by two distinct pathogenic mechanisms

Int Immunol. 1990;2(12):1133-41. doi: 10.1093/intimm/2.12.1133.


In vivo pathological manifestations of eight monoclonal anti-mouse red blood cell (MRBC) autoantibodies obtained from unmanipulated NZB mice were determined in BALB/c mice. Three (two IgG1 and one IgG2a) of four IgG monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and two of four IgM mAb were able to induce anemia following their i.p. injection. All five pathogenic anti-MRBC mAbs reacted only with MRBC, whereas non-pathogenic anti-MRBC mAbs showed binding to different species of RBC. Competition studies suggested the presence of at least two distinct epitopes recognized by our pathogenic anti-MRBC mAb. Histological examinations revealed that anemia resulted from either marked sequestration of agglutinated MRBC in spleens and livers or erythrophagocytosis, most remarkably by Kupffer cells in livers. This difference was correlated with the ability of each mAb to mediate Fc receptor-dependent phagocytosis by macrophages. The absence of complement-mediated hemolysis in vitro and the development of anemia in C5-deficient or C3-depleted mice indicated a minor role, if any, for complement-mediated lysis in the anemia induced by our anti-MRBC mAb. Our results suggest that (i) at least two different pathogenic epitopes are implicated in autoimmune hemolytic anemia; and (ii) sequestration of agglutinated MRBC in spleens and livers and Fc receptor-dependent phagocytosis, but not complement-mediated hemolysis, are the major mechanisms for the development of autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune / etiology*
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune / pathology
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Complement System Proteins / physiology
  • Erythrocytes / immunology*
  • Hemagglutination
  • Liver / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Mice, Inbred NZB
  • Phagocytosis
  • Receptors, Fc / physiology
  • Spleen / pathology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Autoantibodies
  • Receptors, Fc
  • Complement System Proteins