Antibody response to dietary and autoantigens in G alpha i2-deficient mice.
Uhlig HH., Hultgren Hörnquist E., Ohman Bache L., Rudolph U., Birnbaumer L., Mothes T.
BACKGROUND: Mice with a targeted mutation in the G protein subunit G alpha i2 gene develop a colonic mucosal inflammation, with a highly activated B-cell response. We wanted to investigate whether this increased B-cell activity was directed against dietary antigens and/or various self tissues. METHODS: The level of antibodies specific for dietary (gliadin, soya and fish meal) antigens was measured by ELISA. Reactivity against self antigens was measured by immunohistochemistry on cryo-sectioned mouse and rat tissue. Sera and intestinal lavages were analysed from G alpha i2-/- mice before and after development of colitis and in age-matched wild type litter mates. RESULTS: Titres of antibodies against dietary antigens were significantly enhanced both in serum and in large intestinal lavages from G alpha i2-/- mice with ongoing colitis but not prior to disease, as compared to wild type mice. The autoreactivity to self tissues was significantly increased in G alpha i2-/- mice both before and after development of colitis as compared to litter mate control animals. Self tissue reactivity was directed not only against epithelial cells of the colon, small intestine and gastric glands, but also against smooth muscle cells, hepatocytes, bile duct cells, renal tubule and collecting tubule cells of the kidney. In analogy to human ulcerative colitis, autoantibodies against epithelial cells, bile duct epithelium and neutrophil granulocytes were found. CONCLUSIONS: Earlier increase in levels of autoantibodies (before onset of colitis) than of food antibodies (after onset of colitis) suggests the latter response to be a secondary phenomenon to e.g. a destroyed barrier function.