Dependence on Autophagy for Autoreactive Memory B Cells in the Development of Pristane-Induced Lupus

Albert Jang, Robert Sharp, Jeffrey M. Wang, Yin Feng, Jin Wang, Min Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The production of autoantibodies by autoreactive B cells plays a major role in the pathogenesis of lupus. Increases in memory B cells have been observed in human lupus patients and autoimmune lpr mice. Autophagy is required for the maintenance of memory B cells against viral infections; however, whether autophagy regulates the persistence of autoantigen-specific memory B cells and the development of lupus remains to be determined. Here we show that memory B cells specific for autoantigens can be detected in autoimmune lpr mice and a pristane-induced lupus mouse model. Interestingly, B cell-specific deletion of Atg7 led to significant loss of autoreactive memory B cells and reduced autoantibody production in pristane-treated mice. Autophagy deficiency also attenuated the development of autoimmune glomerulonephritis and pulmonary inflammation after pristane treatment. Adoptive transfer of wild type autoreactive memory B cells restored autoantibody production in Atg7-deficient recipients. These data suggest that autophagy is important for the persistence of autoreactive memory B cells in mediating autoantibody responses. Our results suggest that autophagy could be targeted to suppress autoreactive memory B cells and ameliorate humoral autoimmunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number701066
Pages (from-to)701066
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - Jul 16 2021


  • autoantibody
  • autophagy
  • autoreactive memory B cells
  • glomerulonephritis
  • lupus
  • memory B cells
  • pristane induced lupus
  • systemic autoimmunity
  • Memory B Cells/immunology
  • Autophagy/immunology
  • Autoantigens/immunology
  • Autoantibodies/immunology
  • Terpenes/toxicity
  • Mice, Inbred MRL lpr
  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity/immunology
  • Mice
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic/chemically induced
  • Disease Models, Animal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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