Proliferating brain cells are a target of neurotoxic CSF in systemic autoimmune disease.
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Brain atrophy, neurologic and psychiatric (NP) manifestations are common complications in the systemic autoimmune disease, lupus erythematosus (SLE). Here we show that the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from autoimmune MRL-lpr mice and a deceased NP-SLE patient reduce the viability of brain cells which proliferate in vitro. This detrimental effect was accompanied by periventricular neurodegeneration in the brains of autoimmune mice and profound in vivo neurotoxicity when their CSF was administered to the CNS of a rat. Multiple ionic responses with microfluorometry and protein peaks on electropherograms suggest more than one mechanism of cellular demise. Similar to the CSF from diseased MRL-lpr mice, the CSF from a deceased SLE patient with a history of psychosis, memory impairment, and seizures, reduced viability of the C17.2 neural stem cell line. Proposed mechanisms of cytotoxicity involve binding of intrathecally synthesized IgG autoantibodies to target(s) common to different mammalian species and neuronal populations. More importantly, these results indicate that the viability of proliferative neural cells can be compromised in systemic autoimmune disease. Antibody-mediated lesions of germinal layers may impair the regenerative capacity of the brain in NP-SLE and possibly, brain development and function in some forms of CNS disorders in which autoimmune phenomena have been documented.
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