Anti-DNA IgA autoantibodies are spontaneously generated in mouse Peyer's patches

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IgA antibodies in the mucosal immune system are produced specifically to environmental antigens such as virus and bacteria, and possibly to some food components, which will provide a potential luminal antigen, DNA. To study the immune response to DNA in the gut, we established B-cell hybridomas producing IgA monoclonal antibodies (mAb) from Peyer's patches (PP) of non-immunized, non-autoimmune, specific pathogen-free BALB/c mice, and examined their specificity by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Three mAb out of 18 bound strongly to self, bacterial and synthetic DNA, with Kd of about 10−7 M. One of the three mAb also reacted with the histone component and another reacted with some mouse food component. The VH genes of these three mAb have not previously been reported to have anti-DNA specificity, and carry putative somatically mutated sites favouring DNA binding in CDR. The features resemble those of anti-DNA antibodies found in human and murine models of systemic lupus erythmatosus (SLE), and are indicative of an antigen-driven selection process. Our findings suggest that even in normal healthy animals, anti-DNA antibodies of IgA isotype can be produced in certain peripheral environments such as in PP by spontaneous antigenic stimulation.

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