Effects of apoB-derived peptide vaccination in a murine model of systemic lupus erythematosus
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OBJECTIVE: Atherosclerotic disease progression is mediated in part, by immunological mechanisms. In recent years, interest has increased towards the prospect of modulating these immune mechanisms through vaccination to ameliorate the course of disease. Patients with lupus are at a significantly higher risk for accelerated atherosclerosis and related complications. The goal of this study was to assess the outcome of immunization in mouse models of lupus, and lupus with accelerated atherosclerosis. MATERIALS/METHODS: Atherosclerosis-prone apoE^-/- mice and autoimmune gld mice were previously crossed to generate the gld.apoE^-/- mouse. Mice were treated with an apoB-100-derived vaccine, Alum (adjuvant control), or PBS control. The antibody response was determined by quantifying the amount of circulating anti-apoB100. Serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels were analyzed. Kidney tissue from gld and gld.apoE^-/- mice was processed and histologically analyzed, using glomerular tuft size as a measure of renal disease and by extension, autoimmune disease severity. Results: Immunization led to a pronounced initial antibody response that was decreased by the endpoint of the study. No significant differences in serum triglyceride or cholesterol were observed regardless of treatment. Similarly, no significant differences were observed in glomerular tuft size. Conclusion: The data suggests that immunization with an apoB-100- derived vaccine neither improves nor worsens autoimmune disease severity in the gld.apoE^-/- mouse model. It also appears that immunization is tolerated in the autoimmune background. While further study is necessary to determine the efficacy of immunization in reducing atherosclerotic disease in this model, this may be a possible therapy to lower incidence of atherosclerosis in lupus patients.