Role of repetitive antigen patterns for induction of antibodies against antibodies.
Fehr T., Bachmann MF., Bucher E., Kalinke U., Di Padova FE., Lang AB., Hengartner H., Zinkernagel RM.
Antibody responses against antibodies, such as rheumatoid factors, are found in several immunopathological diseases and may play a role in disease pathogenesis. Experience shows that they are usually difficult to induce experimentally. Antibodies specific for immunoglobulin constant regions (anti-allotypic) or for variable regions (anti-idiotypic) have been investigated in animal models; the latter have even been postulated to regulate antibody and T cell responses via network-like interactions. Why and how such anti-antibodies are induced during autoimmune diseases, has remained largely unclear. Because repetitively arranged epitopes in a paracrystalline structure of a viral envelope cross-link B cell receptors efficiently to induce a prompt T-independent IgM response, this study used immune complexes containing viruses or bacteria to evaluate the role of antigen pattern for induction of anti-antibody responses. We present evidence that antibodies bound to strictly ordered, but not to irregularly arranged, antigens dramatically enhance induction of anti-antibodies, already after a single immunization and without using adjuvants. The results indicate a novel link between anti-antibody responses and infectious agents, and suggest a similar role for repetitive self-antigens such as DNA or collagen involved in chronic immunopathological diseases.