The antihypertensive drug hydralazine can induce in man a syndrome similar to spontaneous systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The pathogenesis of this drug-induced syndrome is not understood. In this investigation, five groups of rabbits were studied: group I, 10 rabbits hyperimmunized with hydralazine conjugated to human serum albumin (HSA) in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA); group II, four rabbits with HSA in CFA; group III, four rabbits with CFA alone; group IV, five rabbits with hydralazine conjugated to rabbit serum albumin (RSA); and group V, four rabbits with a major metabolite of hydralazine conjugated to HSA. The rabbits immunized with hydralazine-HSA developed rising titers of antibodies to hydralazine and progressively increasing amounts of antibodies to both single-stranded and native DNA. The antibodies to DNA were cross-reactive with hydralazine as determined by inhibition of DNA binding and DNA hemagglutination tests. Similar results were obtained in rabbits immunized with the metabolite-HSA compound except the major hapten antibody response was to the metabolite. The DNA antibodies in this group were also capable of being absorbed by metabolite-HSA as well as hydralazine-HSA, indicative of the cross-reactivity between hydralazine and its metabolite. Immunization with hydralazine-RSA caused rabbits to produce antibodies to hydralazine but not to DNA, indicating the requirement for an immune response to the carrier protein in order for antibodies reactive with DNA to be produced. Thus, hyperimmunization of rabbits with hydralazine-protein conjugates may provide a useful animal model of SLE. The data suggests that an immune response to hydralazine may be important in human hydralazine-induced SLE.


Y Yamauchi, A Litwin, L Adams, H Zimmer, E V Hess


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