Christine M Grimaldi

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (11)49.88 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibodies and systemic inflammation that results in part from dendritic cell activation by nucleic acid containing immune complexes. There are many mouse models of lupus, some spontaneous and some induced. We have been interested in an induced model in which estrogen is the trigger for development of a lupus-like serology. The R4A transgenic mouse expresses a transgene-encoded H chain of an anti-DNA Ab. This mouse maintains normal B cell tolerance with deletion of high-affinity DNA-reactive B cells and maturation to immunocompetence of B cells making nonglomerulotropic, low-affinity DNA-reactive Abs. When this mouse is given estradiol, normal tolerance mechanisms are altered; high-affinity DNA-reactive B cells mature to a marginal zone phenotype, and the mice are induced to make high titers of anti-DNA Abs. We now show that estradiol administration also leads to systemic inflammation with increased B cell-activating factor and IFN levels and induction of an IFN signature. DNA must be accessible to B cells for both the production of high-affinity anti-DNA Abs and the generation of the proinflammatory milieu. When DNase is delivered to the mice at the same time as estradiol, there is no evidence for an abrogation of tolerance, no increased B cell-activating factor and IFN, and no IFN signature. Thus, the presence of autoantigen is required for positive selection of autoreactive B cells and for the subsequent positive feedback loop that occurs secondary to dendritic cell activation by DNA-containing immune complexes.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · The Journal of Immunology
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    ABSTRACT: A major goal for the treatment of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus with cytotoxic therapies is the induction of long-term remission. There is, however, a paucity of information concerning the effects of these therapies on the reconstituting B cell repertoire. Since there is recent evidence suggesting that B cell lymphopenia might attenuate negative selection of autoreactive B cells, we elected to investigate the effects of cyclophosphamide on the selection of the re-emerging B cell repertoire in wild type mice and transgenic mice that express the H chain of an anti-DNA antibody. The reconstituting B cell repertoire in wild type mice contained an increased frequency of DNA-reactive B cells; in heavy chain transgenic mice, the reconstituting repertoire was characterized by an increased frequency of mature, high affinity DNA-reactive B cells and the mice expressed increased levels of serum anti-DNA antibodies. This coincided with a significant increase in serum levels of BAFF. Treatment of transgene-expressing mice with a BAFF blocking agent or with DNase to reduce exposure to autoantigen limited the expansion of high affinity DNA-reactive B cells during B cell reconstitution. These studies suggest that during B cell reconstitution, not only is negative selection of high affinity DNA-reactive B cells impaired by increased BAFF, but also that B cells escaping negative selection are positively selected by autoantigen. There are significant implications for therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: FcgammaRIIB is an inhibitory receptor which plays a role in limiting B cell and DC activation. Since FcgammaRIIB is known to dampen the signaling strength of the BCR, we wished to determine the impact of FcgammaRIIB on the regulation of BCRs which differ in their affinity for DNA. For these studies, FcgammaRIIB deficient BALB/c mice were bred with mice expressing the transgene-encoded H chain of the R4A anti-DNA antibody which gives rise to BCRs which express high, low or no affinity for DNA. The deletion of FcgammaRIIB in R4A BALB/c mice led to an alteration in the B cell repertoire, allowing for the expansion and activation of high affinity DNA-reactive B cells. By 6-8 months of age, R4A x FcgammaRIIB-/- BALB/c mice spontaneously developed anti-DNA antibody titers. These mice also displayed an induction of IFN-inducible genes and an elevation in levels of the B cell survival factor, BAFF. These data demonstrate that FcgammaRIIB preferentially limits activation of high affinity autoreactive B cells and can influence the activation of DC through an immune complex-mediated mechanism.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2009 · Journal of Autoimmunity
  • Christine M Grimaldi
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    ABSTRACT: For many decades, it has been speculated that sex hormones play a role in systemic lupus erythematosus. Recent data accumulated during the past few years provide striking evidence that hormonal modulation of B cells can have a profound impact on the survival, maturation and repertoire selection of autoreactive B cells and begin to explain the sex bias associated with the condition. While there are still insufficient clinical data to define a role for estrogen or prolactin in human systemic lupus erythematosus, recent studies of anti-DNA antibody transgenic mice clearly demonstrate that an elevation in either estrogen or prolactin breaks tolerance of high affinity DNA-reactive B cells and induces a lupus phenotype. B cells with the same antigenic specificities are rescued by either estrogen or prolactin, but estrogen promotes the survival and activation of the T independent marginal zone B cell subset, while prolactin promotes the survival and activation of the T dependent follicular B cell subset. Elevations in the levels of estrogen or prolactin can promote the survival and activation of high affinity autoreactive B cells. These hormones engage different B cell pathways to interfere with B cell tolerance. The identification of systemic lupus erythematosus patients with either an estrogen-responsive or prolactin-responsive disease will further the development of therapeutics that can specifically modulate hormonal responses.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2006 · Current Opinion in Rheumatology
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    Christine M Grimaldi · Venkatesh Jeganathan · Betty Diamond
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    ABSTRACT: There are increasing data suggesting that sex hormones, such as estrogen, have immunomodulatory effects and play a role in disease progression and pathogenesis in patients with the autoimmune disorder systemic lupus erythematosus. We have shown previously that treatment with 17beta-estradiol (E2) induces a lupus phenotype in BALB/c mice that express a transgene-encoded H chain of an anti-DNA Ab. Because E2 treatment interferes with normal tolerance of naive DNA-reactive B cells, we elected to study the effects of hormonal modulation on the regulation of autoreactive B cells at early developmental checkpoints. Single-cell PCR was performed to study the repertoire of DNA-reactive B cell subsets. High-affinity DNA-reactive B cells were rescued at both the immature and transitional B cell stage in E2-treated mice. Interestingly, although low-affinity DNA-reactive B cells survive negative selection in control mice, the frequency of these cells was significantly reduced in the mature pool of E2-treated mice, suggesting that the high-affinity DNA-reactive cells that mature to immunocompetence out-compete the low-affinity population for survival as mature B cells. These data provide evidence that an elevation in serum levels of E2 facilitates the maturation of a pathogenic naive autoreactive B cell repertoire and hampers the maturation of a potentially protective autoreactive B cell repertoire. Furthermore, these data show that both positive and negative selection occur within the transitional B cell stage.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2006 · The Journal of Immunology
  • Christine M Grimaldi · Latia Hill · Xiaonan Xu · Elena Peeva · Betty Diamond
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    ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the production of pathogenic autoantibodies, primarily to nuclear antigens. The etiology of SLE is not entirely understood, but it is well-appreciated that multiple factors such as genetics and environment contribute to disease progression and pathogenesis. There is also convincing evidence that gender plays an import role in SLE since the incidence of disease occurs with a female to male ratio of 9:1. While it is plausible that some sex-linked genes may contribute to the genetic predisposition for the disease, other likely culprits for this gender bias are the sex hormones estrogen and prolactin. The data implicating estrogen and prolactin in SLE, until recently, were largely circumstantial. However, within the last few years, data collected from both human and mouse studies have provided compelling evidence that alterations in sex hormone levels can alter tolerance of autoreactive B cells and exacerbate disease. In this review, we will discuss recent data demonstrating a role for estrogen and prolactin in SLE and the effect of these hormones on B cell maturation, selection and activation.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2005 · Molecular Immunology
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    Christine M Grimaldi · Ruthmarie Hicks · Betty Diamond
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    ABSTRACT: Autoreactive B cells arise routinely as part of the naive B cell repertoire. The immune system employs several mechanisms in an attempt to silence these autoreactive cells before they achieve immunocompetence. The BCR plays a central role in B cell development, activation, survival, and apoptosis, and thus is a critical component of the regulation of both protective and autoreactive B cells. The strength of signal mediated by the BCR is determined by numerous factors, both B cell intrinsic and B cell extrinsic. Perturbations in the molecules that regulate the BCR signal strength or that activate pathways that engage in cross talk with the BCR-mediated signaling pathways can lead to the aberrant survival and activation of autoreactive B cells. In this review, we will discuss the some newly identified genetic loci and factors that modulate the BCR signal transduction pathway and, therefore, the regulation of autoreactive B cells. We will also provide evidence for a model of autoreactivity in which a reduction in the strength of the BCR signal allows the survival and the modulation of a naive B cell repertoire replete with autoreactivity.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2005 · The Journal of Immunology
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    Christine M Grimaldi · James Cleary · A Selma Dagtas · Dariush Moussai · Betty Diamond
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogen is thought to contribute to the increased frequency of autoimmune disorders occurring in females, but a molecular basis for its effects on autoimmunity remains to be elucidated. We have shown previously that estrogen leads to the survival and activation of autoreactive cells in the naive repertoire. To identify the molecular pathways involved in B cell tolerance, we sought to identify genes that are differentially regulated by estrogen in mouse B cells. Several genes involved in B cell activation and survival, including cd22, shp-1, bcl-2, and vcam-1, were upregulated by estrogen in B cells. We found that overexpression of CD22 and SHP-1 in B cells decreased B cell receptor signaling. Estrogen receptors alpha and beta are expressed on B cells and are functional, since they can directly upregulate expression of CD22, SHP-1, and Bcl-2. Estrogen treatment protected isolated primary B cells from B cell receptor-mediated apoptosis. These results suggest that estrogen induces a genetic program that alters survival and activation of B cells in a B cell-autonomous fashion and thus skews the naive immune system toward autoreactivity.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2002 · Journal of Clinical Investigation
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    Christine M. Grimaldi · Deborah L. French

    Preview · Article · Feb 1995 · ILAR journal / National Research Council, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources
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    Christine M. Grimaldi · Fangping Chen · Changhong Wu · Harvey J. Weiss · Barry S. Coller

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    ABSTRACT: HE PLATELET glycoproteins (GP) IIb (aIIb) and IIIa (ps) form a calcium-dependent heterodimeric complex that functions as a receptor for fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, and perhaps other ligands.'** The GPIIbflIIa receptor is crucial for platelet aggregation and contributes to platelet adhesion, platelet spreading, and protein trafficking. Glanz- mann's thrombasthenia is an inherited recessive bleeding disorder characterized by a quantitative or a qualitative ab- normality of platelet GPIIb and/or GPIIIa. In recent years, several different genetic defects responsible for Glanz- mann's thrombasthenia have been identified, including dele- tions and insertion^'"^ and point mutation^.'^-^^ Even though a number of point mutations in the GPIIIa gene have been found in some patients,""' no single cysteine mutation has been reported so far, even though GPIIIa is notable for hav- ing 56 cysteines, 31 of which are clustered into four ran- domly repeated ~egments.~' We now describe a Chinese fe- male patient with Glanzmann's thrombasthenia caused by a homozygous mutation of Cys374Tyr in GPIIIa.
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Publication Stats

545 Citations
49.88 Total Impact Points


  • 2009-2011
    • The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
      • Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2005-2006
    • Columbia University
      • Department of Medicine
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2002
    • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
      • Department of Microbiology & Immunology
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 1995
    • Stony Brook University
      • Department of Pathology
      Stony Brook, NY, United States