The Nuts and Bolts of an Autoimmune Disorder

Science's STKE  01 Feb 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 269, pp. tw45
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2692005tw45

Autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), arise from a breakdown of immune tolerance to the body's own constituents and represent the culmination of multiple environmental and genetic influences. Nevertheless, it is likely that specific regulatory pathways of the immune system are perturbed. McGaha et al. studied genetically distinct strains of mice that share a susceptibility to developing SLE and that also express reduced levels of a particular inhibitory antibody-binding receptor. Engineering bone marrow from these animals to express the receptor gene prevented disease by partially restoring levels of the receptor on B cells. Thus, even in the context of multiple contributing factors, the modulation of a single regulatory pathway can be sufficient to dictate the course of autoimmune pathology.

T. L. McGaha, B. Sorrentino, J. V. Ravetch, Restoration of tolerance in lupus by targeted inhibitory receptor expression. Science 307, 590-593 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]