Systemic mononuclear-cell vasculitis in MRL/Mp-lpr/lpr mice. A histologic and immunocytochemical analysis

Am J Pathol. 1987 May;127(2):229-42.


The cellular mechanisms governing the expression of mononuclear cell vasculitis are poorly understood. For determination of the precise sequence of events in the development of vasculitis in autoimmune MRL/lpr mice, histologic sections from 4-20-week-old mice were evaluated with a panel of cytochemical and immunohistochemical stains. The results show that vascular disease in MRL/lpr mice develops as follows: Thy 1+, Ly 1+, L3T4- T cells assemble around predominantly small-to-medium muscular arteries at approximately 8 weeks of age. At 12 weeks of age, an adventitial inflammatory focus forms, composed of large "reactive" mononuclear inflammatory cells adjacent to hypertrophied vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Blastic Thy 1+, Ly 1+, L3T4- T cells subsequently infiltrate the tunica media, and selective VSMC karyolysis results. Occasional cytotoxic/suppressor T cells, macrophages, and possibly NK cells are noted primarily distal to the infiltration site. The outer zone of the inflammatory infiltrate is composed of mature B cells and occasional B-cell precursors. These findings suggest that cellular constituents of the immune response mediate mononuclear cell vasculitis in MRL/lpr mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Surface / analysis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology*
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / analysis
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / pathology
  • Macrophages / pathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / analysis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Vasculitis / immunology
  • Vasculitis / pathology*


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2