Oestrogen is known to accelerate glomerulonephritis and autoantibody production in human and murine systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In this study we demonstrate that treatment of castrated autoimmune MRL+/+ mice with physiological doses of oestrogen results in enhanced immunoglobulin and autoantibody production as well as increased deposition of IgG in renal glomeruli. Accelerated development of glomerulonephritis was also evident from the increase of albuminuria. Interestingly, in contrast to these deteriorative effects of oestrogen on immune complex-mediated disease we now show that the lymphocytic infiltrations in the submandibular glands and perivascular lesions in the kidneys were significantly diminished after exposure to oestrogen. This remarkable impact of physiological oestrogen levels on the outcome of SLE in MRL+/+ mice is postulated to be the result of a differential effect on T and B cell-mediated immune responses. © 1991.
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