Natural and Pathological Autoantibodies Show Age-Related Changes in a Spontaneous Autoimmune Mouse (NZB) Model

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jun 6;24(12):9809. doi: 10.3390/ijms24129809.


The natural autoantibody (natAAb) network is thought to play a role in immune regulation. These IgM antibodies react with evolutionary conserved antigens; however, they do not lead to pathological tissue destruction as opposed to pathological autoantibodies (pathAAb). The exact relation between the natAAbs and pathAAbs is still not completely understood; therefore, in the present study, we set out to measure nat- and pathAAb levels against three conserved antigens in a spontaneous autoimmune disease model: the NZB mouse strain which develops autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) from six months of age. There was an age dependent increase in the natAAb levels in the serum against Hsp60, Hsp70, and the mitochondrial citrate synthase until 6-9 months of age, followed by a gradual decrease. The pathological autoantibodies appeared after six months of age, which corresponded with the appearance of the autoimmune disease. The changes in nat/pathAAb levels were coupled with decreasing B1- and increasing plasma cell and memory B cell percentages. Based on this, we propose that there is a switch from natAAbs towards pathAAbs in aged NZB mice.

Keywords: autoimmune disease; natural autoantibody; pathological autoantibody.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune*
  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoimmune Diseases*
  • Mice


  • Autoantibodies