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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Germline deletion of β2 microglobulin or CD1d reduces anti-phospholipid antibody, but increases autoantibodies against non-phospholipid antigens in the NZB/W F1 model of lupus

Ram Raj Singh123*, Jun-Qi Yang1, Peter J Kim1 and Ramesh C Halder1

Author Affiliations

1 Autoimmunity and Tolerance Laboratory, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), 1000 Veteran Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1670, USA

2 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 924 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

3 Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Factor Building, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:R47  doi:10.1186/ar4206

Published: 27 March 2013



β2-microglobulin (β2m) is required for the surface expression of MHC class I and class I-like proteins such as CD1d, Qa1 and neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn), all of which may impact the development of autoimmunity. Since CD1d is known to bind and present phospholipid antigens to T cells, we asked if the deficiency of β2m or CD1d will impact the development of anti-phospholipid antibodies as compared to other aspects of lupus autoimmunity.


We introgressed the β2m-null genotype onto the NZB and NZW backgrounds for 12 to 14 generations to generate genetically lupus-susceptible (NZB/NZW)F1 (BWF1) mice that are β2m-deficient (β2m°). Circulating immunoglobulins (Ig), rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-DNA and anti-cardiolipin (anti-CL) antibodies, and renal disease were analyzed in these and CD1d-deficient (CD1d°) BWF1 mice that we had previously generated.


Whereas β2m° BWF1 mice had reduced serum IgG, they had increased mortality, nephritis, serum IgG anti-DNA antibody and RF as compared to heterozygous and wild-type littermates. These effects were recapitulated in CD1d° BWF1 mice, except that they also had increased serum IgG as compared to control littermates. Intriguingly, both β2m° and CD1d° mice had lower serum anti-CL antibody levels than in control littermates. Such CD1d dependence of anti-CL antibody production is not mediated by CD1d/glycolipid-reactive iNKT cells, as these cells reduced the production of RF and anti-DNA antibodies but had no effect on anti-CL antibodies.


We report a novel dichotomous role of β2m and CD1d, whereby these molecules differently regulate autoimmunity against phospholipid versus non-phospholipid autoantigens.