Autoreactive T cell specificity in autoimmune hemolytic anemia of the NZB mouse

Frances E. Perry, Robert N. Barker, Graziella Mazza, Michael J. Day, Angela D. Wells, Chia Rui Shen, Ann E. Schofield, Christopher J. Elson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

42 Scopus citations


Splenic T cells from Coombs'-positive New Zealand Black (NZB) mice proliferated consistently in vitro in response to the integral red blood cell (RBC) membrane protein Band 3, the antigen previously shown to be the target for the pathogenic RBC autoantibodies. The responding cells predominantly express CD4 and the proliferative response is blocked by antibodies to the NZB major histocompatibility complex class II but not by antibodies to an irrelevant H-2 haplotype. NZB splenic T cells also proliferated in response to the internal membrane skeleton protein spectrin. By contrast, T cells from BALB/c and DBA2 mice, which bear the same H-2 haplotype as NZB mice, but which do not develop autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), fail to respond to Band 3. It is considered that these results support the hypothesis that Band 3-reactive T cells provide help for the production of pathogenic anti-Band 3 autoantibodies in NZB mice. T cells from Coombs'-negative NZB mice as young as 3 weeks old proliferated in response to Band 3; moreover, the RBC from Coombs'-negative mice bore elevated levels of autoantibody as judged by a sensitive direct enzyme-linked anti-globulin test. Thus, the pathology of AIHA develops at a much earlier age than was thought previously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-141
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Band 3
  • NZB mouse
  • Red blood cell autoantibodies
  • T cell


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