JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Prolactin levels correlate with abnormal B cell maturation in MRL and MRL/lpr mouse models of systemic lupus erythematosus-like disease.

Prolactin (PRL) plays an important role in modulating the immune response. In B cells, PRL enhances antibody production, including antibodies with self-specificity. In this study, our aims were to determine the level of PRL receptor expression during bone-marrow B-cell development and to assess whether the presence of high PRL serum concentrations influences absolute numbers of developing populations and disease outcome in lupus-prone murine models. We observed that the PRL-receptor is expressed in early bone-marrow B-cell; the expression in lupus-prone mice, which had the highest level of expression in pro-B cells and immature cells, differed from that in wild-type mice. These expression levels did not significantly change in response to hyperprolactinemia; however, populations of pro-B and immature cells from lupus-prone strains showed a decrease in the absolute numbers of cells with high PRL-receptor expression in response to PRL. Because immature self-reactive B cells are constantly being eliminated, we assessed the expression of survival factor BIRC5, which is more highly expressed in both pro-B and immature B-cells in response to PRL and correlates with the onset of disease. These results identify an important role of PRL in the early stages of the B-cell maturation process: PRL may promote the survival of self-reactive clones.

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