Apoptosis and the thymic microenvironment in murine lupus

Yuichi Takeoka, Nobuhisa Taguchi, Leonard Shultz, Richard L. Boyd, Mitsuru Naiki, Aftab A. Ansari, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The thymus of New Zealand black (NZB) mice undergoes premature involution. In addition, cultured thymic epithelial cells from NZB mice undergo accelerated preprogrammed degeneration. NZB mice also have distinctive and well-defined abnormalities of thymic architecture involving stromal cells, defined by staining with monoclonal antibodies specific for the thymic microenvironment. We took advantage of these findings, as well as our large panel of monoclonal antibodies which recognize thymic stroma, to study the induction of apoptosis in the thymus of murine lupus and including changes of epithelial architecture. We studied NZB, MRL/lpr, BXSB/Yaa, C3H/gld mice and BALB/c and C57BL/6 as control mice. Apoptosis was studied both at basal levels and following induction with either dexamethasone or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The apoptotic cells were primarily found in the thymic cortex, and the frequency of apoptosis in murine lupus was less than 20% of controls. Moreover, all strains of murine lupus had severe abnormalities of the cortical network. These changes were not accentuated by dexamethasone treatment in cultured thymocytes. However, the thymus in murine lupus was less susceptible to LPS-induced apoptosis than control mice. Finally we note that the number of thymic nurse cells (TNC) was lowest in NZB mice. Our findings demonstrate significant abnormalities in the induction of apoptosis and the formation of TNC-like epithelial cells in SLE mice, and suggest that the abnormalities of the thymic microenvironment have an important role in the pathogenesis of murine lupus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-334
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1999

Keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Autoimmunity
  • Murine lupus
  • Thymic microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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    Takeoka, Y., Taguchi, N., Shultz, L., Boyd, R. L., Naiki, M., Ansari, A. A., & Gershwin, M. E. (1999). Apoptosis and the thymic microenvironment in murine lupus. Journal of Autoimmunity, 13(3), 325-334. https://doi.org/10.1006/jaut.1999.0325