Autoimmune diseases are characterized by pathogenic immune responses to self-antigens. In systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), many self-antigens are found in apoptotic cells (ACs), and defects in removal of ACs from the body are linked to a risk for developing SLE. This includes pathological memory that gives rise to disease flares. In this study, we investigated how memory to AC-derived self-antigens develops and the contribution of self-memory to the development of lupus-related pathology. Multiple injections of ACs without adjuvant into wild-type mice induce a transient primary autoimmune response without apparent anti-nuclear Ab reactivity or kidney pathology. Interestingly, as the transient Ab response reached baseline, a single boost injection fully recalled the immune response to ACs, and this memory response was furthermore transferable into naive mice. Additionally, the memory response contains elements of pathogenicity, accompanied by selective memory to selective Ags. Thus, we provide evidence for a selective self-memory that underlies progression of the response to self-antigens with implications for SLE development therapy.
Copyright © 2016 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.