The current study examines the role of the L3T4 T cell subset in the development of lupus-like autoimmunity and lymphoproliferation in lpr-bearing mice. Chronic treatment of MRL-lpr/lpr mice with anti-L3T4 antibody beginning at 4 wk old was found to markedly decrease the production of IgG anti-DNA and antihistone antibodies, while having no effect on IgM autoantibodies. A dramatic reduction in splenomegaly and lymphadenopathy was also observed coincident with a decrease in the percentage and total number of Thy-1+, B220+ cells. Together, the data suggest an important role for L3T4+ T cells in the pathogenesis of disease in lpr mice and provide further evidence that a requirement for the L3T4 subset may be a common feature of murine autoimmunity.

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