Sasidhar MV, Itoh N, Gold SM, Lawson GW, Voskuhl RR.

OBJECTIVES: Many autoimmune diseases are characterised by a female predominance. This may be caused by sex hormones, sex chromosomes or both. This report uses a transgenic mouse model to investigate how sex chromosome complement, not confounded by differences in gonadal type, might contribute to lupus pathogenesis. METHODS: Transgenic NZM2328 mice were created by deletion of the Sry gene from the Y chromosome, thereby separating genetic from gonadal sex. Survival, renal histopathology and markers of immune activation were compared in mice carrying the XX versus the XY(-) sex chromosome complement, with each genotype being ovary bearing. RESULTS: Mice with XX sex chromosome complement compared with XY(-) exhibited poorer survival rates and increased kidney pathology. Splenic T lymphocytes from XX mice demonstrated upregulated X-linked CD40 ligand expression and higher levels of activation markers ex vivo. Increased MMP, TGF and IL-13 production was found, while IL-2 was lower in XX mice. An accumulation of splenic follicular B cells and peritoneal marginal zone B cells was observed, coupled with upregulated costimulatory marker expression on B cells in XX mice. CONCLUSION: These data show that the XX sex chromosome complement, compared with XY(-), is associated with accelerated spontaneous lupus.

Ann. Rheum. Dis. 2012;71:1418-22.

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