Early in life, mice of four kinds [NZB, (NZB × NZW)F1, MRL/1, and male BXSB] with autoimmune disease spontaneously produced far more (>3 S.D.) anti-hapten antibody-forming cells in spleens and greater concentrations of anti-hapten antibodies in sera than immunologically normal strains of mice (AKR, BALB/c, C3H, C57BL/6, DBA/1J, DBA/2J, LB/J, 129, NZW, and female BXSB). This increased nonspecific antibody production by the abnormal animals' B cells correlated well with the spontaneous development of anti-single-stranded DNA antibodies, but not with serum levels of the viral envelope glycoprotein, gp70. These results suggest that the spontaneous formation of autoantibodies in mice whose immunologic disorder is manifested by a lupus-like disease may result from polyclonal activation of B cells by endogenous or exogenous B cell activators.

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