Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multifactorial and heterogeneous autoimmune disease involving multiple organ systems and tissues. Lupus nephritis occurs in approximately 60% of patients with SLE and is the leading cause of morbidity. Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage (DAH) is a rare but very serious complication of SLE with a greater than 50% associated mortality. The etiology of SLE is unclear but has proposed genetic, hormonal, and environmental aspects. Pristane is a saturated terpenoid alkane and has become the most popular laboratory model for inducing lupus in mice. The pristane model of SLE has the capacity to reproduce many components of the human presentation of the disease. Previous studies have demonstrated that virus-derived immune-modulating proteins have the potential to control inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Serp-1, a 55 kDa secreted and highly glycosylated immune modulator derived from myxoma virus (MYXV), has potent immunomodulatory activity in models of vasculitis, viral sepsis, collagen-induced arthritis, and transplant rejection. This chapter describes the mouse preclinical pristane lupus model as a method to examine virus-derived protein efficacy for treating autoimmune diseases and specifically lupus nephritis and DAH.

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