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Autoimmunity (Dr. Ian Rifkin)

Dr. Rifkin¡¦s research interest is in the immunological mechanisms responsible for the development of systemic autoimmune disease, in particular systemic lupus erythematosus. He has used novel techniques to define the mechanisms by which autoreactive lymphocytes from lupus-prone mice identify nuclear antigens and produce autoantibodies.


  1. Aprahamian T, Rifkin I, Bonegio R, Hugel B, Freyssinet JM, Sato K, Castellot JJ Jr, Walsh K. Impaired clearance of apoptotic cells promotes synergy between atherogenesis and autoimmune disease. J. Exp. Med. 2004;199:1121-1131.
  2. Boule MW, Broughton C, Mackay F, Akira S, Marshak-Rothstein A, Rifkin IR. TLR9- dependent and independent dendritic cell activation by chromatin-IgG complexes. J.Exp.Med. 2004;199:1631-1640.
  3. Marshak-Rothstein A, Busconi L, Lau CM, Tabor AS, Leadbetter EA, Akira S, Krieg AM, Lipford GB,Viglianti GA, Rifkin IR. Comparison of CpG s-ODNs, Chromatin Immune Complexes, and dsDNA Fragment Immune Complexes in the TLR9-dependent Activation of Rheumatoid Factor B Cells. J. Endotoxin Res. 2004;10:247-251.
  4. Lau CM, Broughton C, Tabor AS, Akira S, Flavell RA, Mamula MJ, Christensen SR, Shlomchik MJ, Viglianti GA, Rifkin IR, Marshak-Rothstein A. RNA-associated autoantigens activate B cells by combined B cell antigen receptor/Toll-like receptor 7 engagement. J. Exp. Med. 2005;202:1171-1177.
  5. Beaudette-Zlatanova BC, Ling T, Shlomchik MJ, Marshak-Rothstein A, Rifkin IR. B cells and dendritic cells from Vk-8 light chain transgenic mice activate MRL-lpr/gld CD4+ T cells. J. Immunol. 2006;177:45-52.
  6. Aprahamian T, Bonegio R, Rizzo J, Lefer DJ, Rifkin IR, Walsh K. Simvastatin treatment ameliorates autoimmune disease associated with accelerated atherosclerosis in a murine lupus model. J. Immunol. 2006;177:3028-3034.
  7. Bijol V, Agrawal N, Abernethy VE, Rifkin IR, Nose V, Rennke HG. A 57-year-old woman with recently diagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus, proteinuria, and microhematuria. Am. J. Kidney Dis. 2006;48:1004-1008.
  8. Yasuda K, Richez C, Maciaszek JW, Agrawal N, Akira S, Marshak-Rothstein A, Rifkin IR. Murine dendritic cell type I interferon production induced by human IgG-RNA immune complexes is IRF5- and IRF7-dependent, and is required for IL-6 production. J. Immunol. 2007;178:6876-6885.
  9. Richez C, Yasuda K, Watkins AA, Akira S, Lafyatis R, Van Seventer J, Rifkin IR. Toll-like receptor 4 ligands induce IFN- production by mouse conventional dendritic cells and human monocytes after IFN- priming. J. Immunol. (in press).
  10. Aprahamian, T, Bonegio, RG, Richez C, Yasuda K, Chiang L-K, Sato K, Walsh K, Rifkin IR. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma agonist rosiglitazone ameliorates murine lupus by induction of adiponectin. J. Immunol. (in press).


  1. Rifkin IR and Marshak-Rothstein A. T-bet: the Toll-bridge to class-switch recombination? Nat. Immunol. 2003;4:687-693.
  2. Marshak-Rothstein A, Busconi L, Rifkin IR, Viglianti GA. The stimulation of Toll-like receptors by nuclear antigens: a link between apoptosis and autoimmunity. Rheum. Dis. Clin. N. Am. 2004;30:559-574.
  3. Rifkin IR, Leadbetter EA, Busconi L, Viglianti G, Marshak-Rothstein A. Toll-like receptors, endogenous ligands, and systemic autoimmune disease. Immunol. Rev. 2005;204:27-42.
  4. Agrawal N, Chiang L-K, Rifkin IR. Lupus Nephritis. Semin. Nephrol. 2006;26:95-104.
  5. Patel PS, Rifkin IR. Mycophenolate and Nephrology. Lupus. 2006;15:39-43.
  6. Marshak-Rothstein A and Rifkin IR. Immunologically active autoantigens: the role of Toll-like receptors in the development of chronic inflammatory disease. Annu. Rev. Immunol. 2007;25:419-441.
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine