MRL/lpr → severe combined immunodeficiency mouse allografts produce autoantibodies, acute graft-versus-host-disease or a wasting syndrome depending on the source of cells
Graft vs Host Disease
MRL/lpr (lpr) mice spontaneously develop a lupus-like illness as well as massive lymphadenopathy. Attempts to transfer autoimmunity by adoptive transfer or radiation bone marrow chimeras have been unsuccessful. Since severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice have been engrafted with human and rat xenografts without apparent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), we subjected SCID mice to low-dose irradiation and reconstituted the mice with spleen cells from young or old lpr mice or with lpr bone marrow. Fourteen out of twenty (70%) of SCID mice engrafted with spleen cells from old lpr mice produced autoantibodies (anti-DNA and anti-Sm) without evidence of the severe lymphoid atrophy previously described for lpr spleen-->+/+ chimeras. SCID mice engrafted with spleen cells from young lpr mice developed acute GVHD and 5/6 (83%) died within 4 weeks post-transfer. Although 8/11 (73%) of lpr-->SCID bone marrow allografts survived for at least 4 months, these mice developed a wasting disease characterized by lymphoid atrophy and fibrosis without the production of autoantibodies. None of the lpr-->SCID grafts resulted in the transfer of double negative T cells or the lymphoproliferative syndrome characteristic of MRL/lpr mice. These findings indicate that SCID mice can be engrafted with splenocytes from old MRL/lpr mice and that B cells continue to secrete autoantibodies for several months in the SCID recipients. This study also demonstrates that, unlike i.p. transplant of xenogeneic cells, acute GVHD is a consistent feature of i.p. transplants of normal allogeneic mononuclear cells into SCID mice.