The NZB/W F1 (F1) mice develop severe disease that is similar to human systemic lupus erythematosus. By contrast, each parent strain, NZB or NZW, has limited autoimmunity, suggesting traits of both strains contribute to pathogenesis. Although many of the contributing genes have been identified, the contributing cellular abnormality associated with each parent strain remains unresolved. Given that plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are key to the pathogenesis of lupus, we investigated the properties of pDCs from NZB and NZW mice. We found that NZB mouse had higher numbers of pDCs, with much of the increase being contributed by a more abundant CD8+ pDC subset. This was associated with prolonged survival and stronger proliferation of CD4+ T cells. By contrast, NZW pDCs had heightened capacity to produce interferon-α (IFNα) and IFNλ, and promoted stronger B-cell proliferation upon CpG stimulation. Thus, our data reveal the different functional and numerical characteristics of pDCs from NZW and NZB mouse.
- plasmacytoid dendritic cells