The effect of pharmacologic quantities of prostaglandin E1 (PGE) was investigated in three strains of mice (NZB X NZW, MRL/1, and BXSB) that spontaneously develop lupus-like glomerulonephritis. PGE-treatment prolonged survival and retarded the glomerular deposition of immune complex (IC) and the development of glomerulonephritis in NZB X NZW and MRL/1 mice, but did not similarly protect BXSB mice. Changes in the responsive strains correlated well with reduced amounts of circulating gp70 complexed with anti-gp70 antibodies compared with untreated controls, although total concentrations of gp70 (free and complexed) detectable in sera were similar in both groups of mice. The results strongly suggest that: (a) PGE selectively suppressed the immune response to retroviral gp70, (b) PGe had little effect on the quantity or quality of anti-DNA antibodies but did reduce the deposition of anti-DNA containing IC in the kidneys, and (c) gp70 IC appear to play an important role in the pathogenesis of glomerulonephritis in murine systemic lupus erythematosus.

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