Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production and multiple organ damage. Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7), an innate immune RNA sensor expressed in monocytes/macrophages, dendritic cells (DCs), and B cells, promotes disease progression. However, little is known about the cellular mechanisms through which TLR7 drives lupus nephritis. Here, we show that the anti-mouse TLR7 mAb, but not anti-TLR9 mAb, protected lupus-prone NZBWF1 mice from nephritis. The anti-TLR7 mAb reduced IgG deposition in glomeruli by inhibiting the production of autoantibodies to the RNA-associated antigens. We found a disease-associated increase in Ly6Clow patrolling monocytes that expressed high levels of TLR7 and had upregulated expression of lupus-associated IL-10, CD115, CD31, and TNFSF15 in NZBWF1 mice. Anti-TLR7 mAb abolished this lupus-associated increase in patrolling monocytes in the circulation, spleen, and glomeruli. These results suggested that TLR7 drives autoantibody production and lupus-associated monocytosis in NZBWF1 mice and, that anti-TLR7 mAb is a promising therapeutic tool targeting B cells and monocytes/macrophages.
Keywords: autoantibody; inhibitory monoclonal antibody; lupus nephritis; monocytes; toll-like receptor.
Copyright © 2021 Murakami, Fukui, Tanaka, Motoi, Kanno, Sato, Yamaguchi, Amano, Furukawa, Suzuki, Suzuki, Tamura, Yamashita and Miyake.