Immunology and Cell Biology vol:93 issue:10 pages:841-8
The function of mast cells in allergic and organ-specific autoimmune responses is highly controversial. In the current study we aimed to dissect the role of mast cells in systemic autoimmunity in the B6(lpr/lpr) mouse, a spontaneous model of systemic lupus erythematosus. B6(lpr/lpr) mice were interbred with C57Bl/6-Kit(W-sh/W-sh) (Wsh) mice, resulting in mast cell-deficiency. The offspring from this cross (Lpr/Wsh mice) developed symptoms of lupus of the same severity as B6(lpr/lpr) mice. Loss of mast cells on the Lpr background did not alter autoantibody production, proteinuria, the composition of T and B cell populations or autoimmune pathology. Reduced c-Kit expression did drive expanded splenomegaly and impeded IL-4 production by by CD4(+) cells, suggesting minor functions for mast cells. In general we conclude that mast cell deficiency and c-Kit deficiency do not play a role in the pathogenesis of lupus in B6(lpr/lpr) mice.Immunology and Cell Biology accepted article preview online, 07 April 2015. doi:10.1038/icb.2015.49.