Endogenous oocyte antigens are required for rapid induction and progression of autoimmune ovarian disease following day-3 thymectomy.J Immunol. 2001 Apr 01; 166(7):4363-9.JI
Female (C57BL/6xA/J)F(1) mice undergoing thymectomy on day 3 after birth (d3tx) developed autoimmune ovarian disease (AOD) and autoimmune disease of the lacrimal gland. As both were prevented by normal adult CD25(+) T cells, regulatory T cell depletion is responsible for d3tx diseases. AOD began as oophoritis at 3 wk. By 4 wk, AOD progressed to ovarian atrophy with autoantibody response against multiple oocyte Ag of early ontogeny. The requirement for immunogenic endogenous ovarian Ag was investigated in d3tx female mice, d3tx male mice, and d3tx neonatally ovariectomized (OX) females. At 8 wk, all mice had comparable lacrimalitis but only those with endogenous ovaries developed AOD in ovarian grafts. The duration of Ag exposure required to initiate AOD was evaluated in d3tx mice OX at 2, 3, or 4 wk and engrafted with an ovary at 4, 5, or 6 wk, respectively. The mice OX at 2 wk did not have oophoritis whereas approximately 80% of mice OX at 3 or 4 wk had maximal AOD, thus Ag stimulus for 2.5 wk following d3tx is sufficient. AOD progression requires additional endogenous Ag stimulation from the ovarian graft. In mice OX at 3 wk, ovaries engrafted at 5 wk had more severe oophoritis than ovaries engrafted at 6 or 12 wk; moreover, only mice engrafted at 5 wk developed ovarian atrophy and oocyte autoantibodies. Similar results were obtained in mice OX at 4 wk. Thus endogenous tissue Ag are critical in autoimmune disease induction and progression that occur spontaneously upon regulatory T cell depletion.