Ablation of SigH+ pDCs in B6.Nba2 mice prevents lupus-like disease development only if started before disease is fully established
Systemic lupus erythematosus is characterized by hyper-activation of the immune system, multi-organ inflammation, and end-organ damage. Type I interferons (IFN-I) have been strongly implicated a role in disease etiology as has the main IFN-I-producing cell subset, the plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC). The B6.Nba2 mouse model develops a lupus-like disease characterized by elevated IFN-I levels and pDC pathogenicity. We have previously shown that pDC ablation prior to disease development in B6.Nba2 mice effectively prevents disease; however, it remains unclear if a similar protection can be seen if pDC ablation is initiated during later disease stages. This is important as Systemic lupus erythematosus patients are rarely diagnosed until disease is well-established and thus preventative treatment is unlikely to take place. Here we show that ablation of pDCs in the B6.Nba2 mouse model must be initiated early in order to effectively block disease development and that sustained reduction in pDC numbers is necessary for sustained effects. Finally, targeting of pDCs have been hypothesized to affect immunity towards infectious agents, in particular virus and intracellular bacteria. We show here that pDC ablation in B6.Nba2 mice does not affect the anti-viral response to encephalomyocarditic virus or a model T-dependent antigen. In summary, pDC ablation does not affect general immunity, but needs to happen early and be sustained to prevent lupus-like disease development in B6.Nba2 mice.