Systemic Lupus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the production of an array of anti- nuclear antibodies that affects women far more frequently than men. Abnormal B and T cell function has been extensively studied in murine models of SLE. We have developed a mouse with a deletion of Blimp-1 function uniquely in dendritic cells. Female mice develop a lupus-like serology while male mice do not. We propose to understand the alterations in dendritic cell function and the mechanism for the subsequent dysregulation of B cell function. Furthermore, we will determine why this genetic defect manifests as autoimmunity only in female mice. These studies will further our understanding of dendritic cell biology and may identify a new therapeutic target in SLE.
Systemic lupus remains a challenging disease to treat and several new therapies brought to the clinic have failed to show efficacy. We propose to study a new model for lupus in the belief that it differs sufficiently from other models but resembles human disease enough to bring us to new therapeutic targets.
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