In the MRL/l mouse, gp70 apparently plays a role as an autoantigen in the development of SLE. However, while gp70 may be an important pathogenetic element, it is not essential to MRL SLE, since elimination of most of the serum gp70 and virtually all of the immune complex gp70 from MRL/l-low gp70 congenic lines had no observable effect on the course or nature of the disease. Thus, while gp70 in the MRL/l mouse appears to be a convenient autoantigenic target when present in significant levels, in its absence the host appears capable of directing its aberrant immunologic responsiveness elsewhere with undiminished pathogenicity.

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