Characterization of Natural Autoantibodies: A case for Functional Significance
AdvisorSchluter, Samuel F
Committee ChairNikolich-Zugich, Janko
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractNatural autoantibodies are defined as self-reactive antibodies present in healthy individuals in the absence of purposeful immunization or any known antigenic stimulation. While most NAAbs are of the IgM isotype, T cell dependent isotypes such as IgG and IgA NAAbs have been reported. Natural antibodies are conserved through evolution; they have been detected in sharks and humans, the phylogenetic limits of vertebrates capable of producing antibodies. The phylogenetic conservation of NAAbs suggests that they play an important, but overlooked, role in the maintenance of physiological homeostasis of the immune system.My project involved the characterization of two NAAbs. The first part of my dissertation elucidates the production and functional characterization of an anti-T Cell Receptor NAAb, OR3. OR3 is an IgM heterohybridoma made from the peripheral blood B cells of a patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis. The results show that OR3 specifically binds to the Complementarity Determining Region 1 segment of TCRV b8 regions, is specific for a subset of T cells and blocks the antigen activation of these T cells. Importantly, OR3 does not induce apoptosis or necrosis of T cells. My results support our hypothesis that anti-TCR NAAbs are immunomodulatory and indicate that autoantibodies present in humans may have significant functional activity in the regulation of T cell responses.The second part of the dissertation describes the phenomenon of NAAbs to human delta opioid receptor. I affinity purified IgG antibodies to human DOR from intravenous immunoglobulin, a therapeutic blood product that contains purified IgG isolated from the plasma of thousands of healthy donors. The anti-DOR NAAbs bind to DOR protein, and initiate an activating signaling cascade, in a manner similar to a receptor specific agonist. Interestingly, there is a significant difference in the agonistic activity of the autoantibodies compared to the synthetic DOR agonist DPDPE. Unlike DPDPE, these autoantibodies display significant immunomodulatory activity as evinced by changes in CCR5 and CXCR4 chemokine receptor expression. The presence of functional autoantibodies in IVIG shows that they are a part of the normal healthy immune repertoire in humans. This work also presents data supporting the interconnecting network between the neuroendocrine and immune systems.