Effect of genetic background on the contribution of New Zealand Black loci to autoimmune lupus nephritis

Stephen J. Rozzo, Timothy J. Vyse, Charles G. Drake, Brian L. Kotzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus are complex genetic traits with contributions from major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes and multiple unknown non-MHC genes. Studies of animal models of lupus have provided important insight into the immunopathogenesis of disease, and genetic analyses of these models overcome certain obstacles encountered when studying human patients. Genome-wide scans of different genetic crosses have been used to map several disease-linked loci in New Zealand hybrid mice. Although some consensus exists among studies mapping the New Zealand Black (NZB) and New Zealand White (NZW) loci that contribute to lupus-like disease, considerable variability is also apparent. A variable in these studies is the genetic background of the non-autoimmune strain, which could influence genetic contributions from the affected strain. A direct examination of this question was undertaken in the present study by mapping NZB nephritis-linked loci in backcrosses involving different non-autoimmune backgrounds. In a backcross with MHC-congenic C57BL/6J mice, H2(z) appeared to be the strongest genetic determinant of severe lupus nephritis, whereas in a backcross with congenic BALB/cJ mice, H2(z) showed no influence on disease expression. NZB loci on chromosomes 1, 4, 11, and 14 appeared to segregate with disease in the BALB/cJ cross, but only the influence of the chromosome 1 locus spanned both crosses and showed linkage with disease when all mice were considered. Thus, the results indicate that contributions from disease-susceptibility loci, including MHC, may vary markedly depending on the non-autoimmune strain used in a backcross analysis. These studies provide insight into variables that affect genetic heterogeneity and add an important dimension of complexity for linkage analyses of human autoimmune disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15164-15168
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 24 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • genetic linkage
  • murine lupus
  • systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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