Ribavirin treatment in murine autoimmune disease

Lynell W. Klassen, Gary W. Williams, James L. Reinertsen, N. Lynn Gerber, Alfred D. Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


NZB/W F, female mice were treated from 20 weeks of age with ribavirin (a broad spectrum antiviral drug), cyclophosphamide, or saline. Treatment with ribavirin (250 mg/kg twice weekly) prolonged survival from 9.8 to 18.5 months, reduced anti‐DNA antibodies, and prevented proteinuria. Ability of ribavirin to prolong survival was dose related when given on a twice weekly schedule. However, daily ribavirin (25 mg/kg/day) was as effective as higher intermittent doses. Optimal ribavirin therapy was equal to cyclophosphamide treatment with regard to prolongation of survival. Ribavirin treatment did not significantly alter the body weight, hematocrit, WBC count, serum immunoglobulins, or Coombs reactivity. No alterations in either cellular or humoral immune responses were noted in NZB/W F, or BALB/c mice treated for prolonged periods with ribavirin. The impressive therapeutic response to a broad spectrum antiviral agent seen in mice already manifesting immune complex nephritis provides a new therapeutic approach to the treatment of autoimmunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalArthritis & Rheumatism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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