Pathogenic idiotypes of autoantibodies in autoimmunity: Lessons from new experimental models of SLE

Yehuda Shoenfeld*, Edna Mozes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is considered a classical autoimmune disease that involves many biological systems. Similar to other autoimmune conditions, its etiology is multifactorial entailing genetic, environmental, hormonal, and immunologic factors. In this review we demonstrate that by using a pathogenic idiotype of anti-DNA autoantibodies, it is possible to explain some of the pathogenesis and diversity of clinical and serological manifestations reported by SLE patients. The 16/6 idiotype (Id) is a representative pathogenic idiotype of anti-DNA autoantibodies. The serum titers of 16/6 Id in SLE patients correlate with clinical activity of the disease, and are deposited in afflicted tissues in SLE patients. SLE was experimentally induced in naive mice after immunization with 1 μg of the Id. The disease is characterized clinically (proteinuria), serologically (e.g., anti-dsDNA, anti-Sm antibodies), and by pathological findings (e.g., deposition of 16/6 Id in the kidneys). The condition can be induced by other human and mouse antibodies carrying the 16/6 Id, as well as by mouse antimonoclonal-16/6 Id and by T cell lines and clones specifically reactive with 16/6 Id. There are strain-dependent differences in susceptibility to the induction of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Induction of SLE is directly correlated with the ability to respond to the 16/6 idiotype (or 16/6 Id)2 by anti-Id antibody production. It is easier to induce the disease in females, and it can be modulated by manipulation of sex hormones. Being able to identify the pathogenic idiotype allowed us to generate T suppressor (Ts) cells specific for the 16/6 Id. Treatment of mice with these T cells abrogated the disease. Our studies point to the importance of pathogenic idiotypes of autoantibodies in autoimmunity, which suggests that SLE may represent a dysregulation of a functional network of idiotypes-anti-idiotypes interactions among auto-reactive B cells, T helper cells, and T suppressor cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2646-2651
Number of pages6
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-DNA antibodies
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoimmunity
  • Experimental disease
  • Idiotypes
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus


Dive into the research topics of 'Pathogenic idiotypes of autoantibodies in autoimmunity: Lessons from new experimental models of SLE'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this