Rachel Ettinger

MedImmune, LLC, Maryland, United States

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Publications (29)131.53 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Ectopic follicles are non-encapsulated organized lymphoid structures that form at sites of inflammation and presumably contribute to the activation and differentiation of cells with autoreactive potential within target tissues. As such, directed targeting of ectopic follicles in settings of autoimmunity may provide a means to specifically inhibit the activation of autoreactive cells without impairing protective immune responses ongoing in peripheral lymphoid tissues. NOD·H2h4 mice are a non-diabetic strain of NOD mice which develop a Sjögren's syndrome-like disease which includes the formation of ectopic follicles in the salivary gland and characteristic Sjögren's autoantibodies. The goal of these studies was to better characterize the formation of ectopic follicles in this model and to explore their contribution to autoimmunity. Our studies show that by 8 weeks of age, young NOD·H2h4 mice spontaneously develop an abundance of splenic germinal centers, prior to the emergence of lymphocyte infiltration in the salivary gland tissue. Ectopic follicle formation in the salivary gland begins to appear in these mice between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Interestingly, anti-Ro and anti-La autoantibodies precede the development of ectopic follicles in young NOD·H2h4 mice. In contrast, production of anti-dsDNA antibodies is delayed and largely coincides with the formation of ectopic follicles in these mice. These data suggest that tertiary lymphoid structures may arise from the trafficking of activated T and B cells to sites of inflammation in non-lymphoid tissues. Furthermore, local presentation of autoantigens may then promote the expansion of autoreactive cells with specificities distinct from those generated in the splenic micro-environment.
    Molecular Immunology 12/2014; · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: B cell activation is regulated by a variety of signals. CD19 positively regulates B cell activation, augmenting signals delivered through the BCR complex. In contrast, CD32b contains an ITIM and negatively regulates BCR signaling. Importantly, there are drugs currently in clinical trials and preclinical development that cross-link CD32b to molecules within the BCR complex. We wanted to address how single engagement versus cotargeting these molecules affects human B cell function. When B cells from healthy individuals were activated by signals that mimic a T cell response (IL-21 costimulation), ligation of CD32b, but not CD19, inhibited B cell expansion and plasma cell (PC) differentiation. In contrast, when B cells were activated through TLR, anti-CD19, but not anti-CD32b, blunted the response. However, when both CD19 and CD32b were coengaged by a bispecific anti-CD19×CD32b Ab, both types of stimuli were potently inhibited. Cross-linking CD19 with CD32b also inhibited Ab-independent functions of B cells, such as HLA upregulation, cytokine production, and the ability of B cells to prime CD4(+) T cells. Finally, although cross-linking CD19 and CD32b inhibited PC differentiation of primary B cells, it did not alter Ig production from pre-established PCs. These data elucidate the mechanism by which a complex set of signals determines the fate of B cell responsiveness. Although signals through CD19 influence TLR-driven activation, CD32b impacts the magnitude of the response following IL-21 costimulation. Therefore, simultaneous targeting of multiple surface molecules may be a necessary approach to comprehensively modulate B cell activation in vivo.
    The Journal of Immunology 01/2014; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The chemokine CXCL13 has a key role in secondary lymphoid tissue orchestration and lymphoid neogenesis. Transgenic mice deficient in CXCL13 or its receptor CXCR5 have severely impaired lymph node development, lack peritoneal B-lymphocytes and are deficient in circulating antibodies to common bacterial antigens. However, total circulating numbers of B-lymphocytes are slightly elevated and humoral responses to T-dependent or blood-borne antigens are relatively normal. Lymphoid neogenesis is an aberrant process that occurs in chronically inflamed tissue and provides a microenvironment supportive of pathogenic B-cell survival and activation. Here, we describe the impact of therapeutic dosing of a CXCL13 antibody in a mouse model of arthritis, and detail the contribution CXCL13 makes to lymphoid follicle microenvironment, without affecting humoral immune responses.
    European Journal of Clinical Investigation 02/2013; · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: B lymphocytes are the source of humoral immunity and are thus a critical component of the adaptive immune system. However, B cells can also be pathogenic and the origin of disease. Deregulated B-cell function has been implicated in several autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. B cells contribute to pathological immune responses through the secretion of cytokines, costimulation of T cells, antigen presentation, and the production of autoantibodies. DNA-and RNA-containing immune complexes can also induce the production of type I interferons, which further promotes the inflammatory response. B-cell depletion with the CD20 antibody rituximab has provided clinical proof of concept that targeting B cells and the humoral response can result in significant benefit to patients. Consequently, the interest in B-cell targeted therapies has greatly increased in recent years and a number of new biologics exploiting various mechanisms are now in clinical development. This review provides an overview on current developments in the area of B-cell targeted therapies by describing molecules and subpopulations that currently offer themselves as therapeutic targets, the different strategies to target B cells currently under investigation as well as an update on the status of novel therapeutics in clinical development. Emerging data from clinical trials are providing critical insight regarding the role of B cells and autoantibodies in various autoimmune conditions and will guide the development of more efficacious therapeutics and better patient selection.
    Arthritis research & therapy 01/2013; 15 Suppl 1:S4. · 4.27 Impact Factor
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    Molecular Immunology 01/2013; 53(s 1–2):172. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Monoclonal antibodies targeting the extracellular region of the human IgE heavy chain membrane-tethering domain have been proposed for treating allergies caused by hyperproliferative monoclonal expansion of IgE-producing B cells. Antibodies against this target are expected to deplete membrane IgE (mIgE) displaying B cells and leave B cells of other immunoglobulin isotypes intact. Because of alternative splicing, the mIgE heavy chain has two isoforms that differ in their membrane-proximal segment. In the long isoform, the CH4 domain is followed by a 67-amino acid-long extracellular portion. Out of these 67 amino acids, the first 52 amino acids following the CH4 domain constitute the CɛmX segment while the rest of the 15 amino acids immediately adjacent to the membrane constitute the ɛ-migis. In the short isoform the CɛmX segment is absent and the CH4 domain is followed only by the 15-amino acid-long ɛ-migis segment. Using antibodies derived from a phage display library, we investigated: (1) ɛ-migis and (2) the junction of CɛmX and ɛ-migis (CɛmX.migis), as potential therapeutic antibody targets. Our results indicate that antibodies obtained from our phage library that target ɛ-migis bind to a variety of human cells irrespective of mIgE expression, possibly due to homology between ɛ-migis and a region of phosphoinositide-binding protein (ARAP3). In contrast, antibodies specific for the CɛmX.migis junctional region, bound specifically to transfected and primary B cells expressing human mIgE and elicited antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and reduction in IgE production. These antibodies did not bind secreted IgE or the mIgE isoform in which CɛmX is absent. These results suggest that CɛmX.migis junctional region is a promising antibody target and the human antibodies we describe warrant further evaluation.
    Molecular Immunology 06/2012; 52(3-4):279-88. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    Jodi L Karnell, Rachel Ettinger
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    ABSTRACT: To date, IL-21 stands out as the most influential cytokine for human B cell activation and differentiation. Indeed, when compared to other important B cell tropic cytokines such as IL-2, IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10, IL-21 is clearly the most potent in terms of its ability to influence humoral immune responses in humans. IL-21 has wide reaching actions in determining how B cells will respond to co-stimulation ranging from induction of cell death upon BCR crosslinking to potent induction of class switch recombination and plasma cell differentiation when CD40 molecules are co-engaged. Another crucial B cell factor, exemplified in recent clinical trials, is BAFF/BLys. BAFF plays a critical role in the survival of human B cells and plasma blasts and influences B cell expansion and migration. Recent evidence has shown that IL-21 and BAFF can work in concert to promote and perhaps maintain humoral immunity in humans. Notably, BAFF has the unique ability to substitute for CD40L activities in regard to IL-21-co-stimulation and differentiation of a specific B cell subpopulation located in the human splenic marginal zone. However, and perhaps surprisingly, BAFF signals do not have the capability to override IL-21-driven cell death events when BCR is engaged. In stark contrast, anti-CD40 ligation of B cells co-activated with IL-21 and anti-IgM not only reverses this aforementioned activation-induced cell death, but transforms this death signal into one that drives plasma cell differentiation. Here we will discuss these two critical B cell factors, IL-21 and BAFF, and their distinct and complimentary effects on human B cell responses.
    Frontiers in Immunology 01/2012; 3:2.
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    ABSTRACT: Production of pathogenic Abs contributes to disease progression in many autoimmune disorders. The immunosuppressant agent mycophenolic acid (MPA) has shown clinical efficacy for patients with autoimmunity. The goal of these studies was to elucidate the mechanisms of action of MPA on B cells isolated from healthy individuals and autoimmune patients. In this study, we show that MPA significantly inhibited both proliferation and differentiation of primary human B cells stimulated under various conditions. Importantly, MPA did not globally suppress B cell responsiveness or simply induce cell death, but rather selectively inhibited early activation events and arrested cells in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle. Furthermore, MPA blocked expansion of both naive and memory B cells and prevented plasma cell (PC) differentiation and Ab production from healthy controls and individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, whereas MPA potently suppressed Ig secretion from activated primary B cells, terminally differentiated PCs were not susceptible to inhibition by MPA. The target of MPA, IMPDH2, was found to be downregulated in PCs, likely explaining the resistance of these cells to MPA. These results suggest that MPA provides benefit in settings of autoimmunity by directly preventing activation and PC differentiation of B cells; however, MPA is unlikely to impact autoantibody production by preexisting, long-lived PCs.
    The Journal of Immunology 08/2011; 187(7):3603-12. · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Immunology - CLIN IMMUNOL. 01/2010; 135.
  • R Ettinger, S Kuchen, P E Lipsky
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin 21 (IL21) belongs to a family of cytokines that bind to a composite receptor consisting of a private receptor (IL21R) and the common cytokine receptor gamma chain (gamma(C)). The IL21R is widely distributed on lympho-haematopoietic cells and IL21 impacts a number of cell types, including CD8+ memory T cells, NK cells and subsets of CD4 memory T cells. One essential role of IL21 is the promotion of B-cell activation and differentiation or death during humoral immune responses. Increased IL21 production is characteristic of certain autoimmune diseases and is likely to contribute to autoantibody production as well as pathological features of autoimmune disease. The critical role of IL21 in promoting humoral immune responses makes it an important focus of potential therapeutic interventions in conditions characterised by overproduction of pathogenic autoantibodies.
    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 12/2008; 67 Suppl 3:iii83-6. · 8.11 Impact Factor
  • Rachel Ettinger, Stefan Kuchen, Peter E Lipsky
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin-21 (IL-21) belongs to a family of cytokines that includes IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, and IL-15, all of which bind to private (or shared) receptors as well as the common cytokine receptor gamma-chain as a component. Most cytokines in this family are critically important for both the maintenance and function of T cells and B cells. The receptor for IL-21 is widely distributed on lymphohematopoietic cells, and IL-21 plays many biologic roles, including maintenance and function of CD8(+) memory T cells and natural killer cells, as well as promoting the generation of Th17 cells in the mouse. One principal non-redundant role of IL-21 is the promotion of B-cell activation, differentiation or death during humoral immune responses. Furthermore, increased IL-21 production is characteristic of certain autoimmune diseases and is likely to contribute to autoantibody production as well as pathologic features of autoimmune disease. In contrast, IL-21 may function as a co-adjuvant to enhance antibody responses and thereby facilitate host defense to malignances and infectious diseases. The critical role of IL-21 in promoting humoral immune responses makes it an important focus of potential therapeutic interventions in conditions characterized by either overproduction of pathogenic autoantibodies or under production of protective antibodies.
    Immunological Reviews 07/2008; 223:60-86. · 12.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During T cell-B cell collaboration, plasma cell (PC) differentiation and Ig production are known to require T cell-derived soluble factors. However, the exact nature of the cytokines produced by activated T cells that costimulate PC differentiation is not clear. Previously, we reported that costimulation of purified human B cells with IL-21 and anti-CD40 resulted in efficient PC differentiation. In this study, we addressed whether de novo production of IL-21 was involved in direct T cell-induced B cell activation, proliferation, and PC differentiation. We found that activated human peripheral blood CD4(+) T cells expressed mRNA for a number of cytokines, including IL-21, which was confirmed at the protein level. Using a panel of reagents that specifically neutralize cytokine activity, we addressed which cytokines are essential for B cell activation and PC differentiation induced by anti-CD3-activated T cells. Strikingly, neutralization of IL-21 with an IL-21R fusion protein (IL-21R-Fc) significantly inhibited T cell-induced B cell activation, proliferation, PC differentiation, and Ig production. Inhibition of PC differentiation was observed even when the addition of IL-21R-Fc was delayed until after initial B cell activation and expansion had occurred. Importantly, IL-21 was found to be involved in PC differentiation from both naive and memory B cells. Finally, IL-21R-Fc did not inhibit anti-CD3-induced CD4(+) T cell activation, but rather directly blocked T cell-induced B cell activation and PC differentiation. These data are the first to document that B cell activation, expansion, and PC differentiation induced by direct interaction of B cells with activated T cells requires IL-21.
    The Journal of Immunology 12/2007; 179(9):5886-96. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The signals mediating human plasma cell survival in vivo, particularly within secondary lymphoid tissue, are unclear. Human tonsils grafted into immunodeficient mice were therefore used to delineate the mechanisms promoting the survival of plasma cells. Tonsillar plasma cells were maintained within the grafts and the majority were nonproliferating, indicating a long-lived phenotype. A significant depletion of graft plasma cells was observed after anti-CD20 treatment, consistent with the expression of CD20 by most of the cells. Moreover, anti-CD52 treatment caused the complete loss of all graft lymphocytes, including plasma cells. Unexpectedly, anti-CD3, but not anti-CD154, treatment caused the complete loss of plasma cells, indicating an essential role for T cells, but not CD40-CD154 interactions in plasma cell survival. The in vitro coculture of purified tonsillar plasma cells and T cells revealed a T-cell survival signal requiring cell contact. Furthermore, immunofluorescence studies detected a close association between human plasma cells and T cells in vivo. These data reveal that human tonsil contains long-lived plasma cells, the majority of which express CD20 and can be deleted with anti-CD20 therapy. In addition, an important role for contact-dependent interactions with T cells in human plasma cell survival within secondary lymphoid tissue was identified.
    Blood 07/2007; 109(11):4856-64. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Both constitutive Ig secretion by long-lived plasma cells (PC) and the recurrent differentiation of memory (mem) B cells into PC contribute to the maintenance of serologic mem. However, the relative contribution of each is unknown. In this study, we describe a novel population of human postswitched mem B cells that rapidly differentiate into PC and thus contribute to serologic mem. These IgG(+) B cells reside in the region of human spleen analogous to the murine marginal zone and have not previously been examined. These cells are highly responsive to IL-21 in the context of CD40 stimulation. Uniquely, IgG(+) marginal zone analog B cells are exquisitely sensitive to the combination of IL-21 and B cell-activating factor belonging to the TNF family (BAFF/BLyS) that synergize in the absence of further costimulation to induce up-regulation of B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 and drive PC differentiation. Other cytokine combinations are not active in this regard. This is the first demonstration that this unique population of mem B cells can respond specifically and exclusively to IL-21 and BAFF/BLyS by differentiating into IgG-secreting PC, and thus contributing to serologic mem in an Ag-independent manner.
    The Journal of Immunology 04/2007; 178(5):2872-82. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    Arthritis Research & Therapy 01/2007; 9:1-1. · 4.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IL-21 is a type I cytokine that influences the function of T cells, NK cells, and B cells. In this study, we report that IL-21 plays a major role in stimulating the differentiation of human B cells. When human B cells were stimulated through the BCR, IL-21 induced minimal proliferation, IgD down-modulation, and small numbers of plasma cells. In contrast, after CD40 engagement, IL-21 induced extensive proliferation, class switch recombination (CSR), and plasma cell differentiation. Upon cross-linking both BCR and CD40, IL-21 induced the largest numbers of plasma cells. IL-21 drove both postswitch memory cells as well as poorly responsive naive cord blood B cells to differentiate into plasma cells. The effect of IL-21 was more potent than the combination of IL-2 and IL-10, especially when responsiveness of cord blood B cells was examined. IL-21 costimulation potently induced the expression of both B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (BLIMP-1) and activation-induced cytidine deaminase as well as the production of large amounts of IgG from B cells. Despite the induction of activation-induced cytidine deaminase and CSR, IL-21 did not induce somatic hypermutation. Finally, IL-2 enhanced the effects of IL-21, whereas IL-4 inhibited IL-21-induced plasma cell differentiation. Taken together, our data show that IL-21 plays a central role in CSR and plasma cell differentiation during T cell-dependent B cell responses.
    The Journal of Immunology 01/2006; 175(12):7867-79. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Murine B-cell development begins in bone marrow and results in the generation of immature transitional B cells that transit to the spleen to complete their maturation. It remains unclear whether the same developmental pathway takes place in humans. Using markers characteristic of human bone marrow immature B cells, we have identified a population of circulating human B cells with a phenotype most similar to mouse transitional type I (T1) B cells, although these human counterparts express CD5. These cells die rapidly in culture, and B-cell activation factor member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family (BAFF) does not effect their survival regardless of B-cell receptor (BCR) stimulation. In contrast, bone marrow stromal cells or interleukin-4 (IL-4) significantly enhanced their survival. In the presence of T-cell signals provided by IL-4 or CD40 ligation, BCR stimulation can induce progression into cell cycle. Interestingly, circulating B cells that phenotypically and functionally resemble murine T2 B cells are found in cord blood and adult peripheral blood, suggesting that B-cell maturation may not be restricted to the spleen. Notably, increased proportions of T1 B cells were found in blood of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), although bone marrow production and selection appeared to be normal.
    Blood 07/2005; 105(11):4390-8. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IL-21 is a type I cytokine whose receptor is expressed on T, B, and NK cells. Within the B cell lineage, IL-21 regulates IgG1 production and cooperates with IL-4 for the production of multiple Ab classes in vivo. Using IL-21-transgenic mice and hydrodynamics-based gene delivery of IL-21 plasmid DNA into wild-type mice as well as in vitro studies, we demonstrate that although IL-21 induces death of resting B cells, it promotes differentiation of B cells into postswitch and plasma cells. Thus, IL-21 differentially influences B cell fate depending on the signaling context, explaining how IL-21 can be proapoptotic for B cells in vitro yet critical for Ag-specific Ig production in vivo. Moreover, we demonstrate that IL-21 unexpectedly induces expression of both Blimp-1 and Bcl-6, indicating mechanisms as to how IL-21 can serve as a complex regulator of B cell maturation and terminal differentiation. Finally, BXSB-Yaa mice, which develop a systemic lupus erythematosus-like disease, have greatly elevated IL-21, suggesting a role for IL-21 in the development of autoimmune disease.
    The Journal of Immunology 12/2004; 173(9):5361-71. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    Arthritis Research & Therapy 01/2003; · 4.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The development of lymphoid tissues as well as the ultimate differentiation of naïve and memory T cells are dependent on cytokines. In this review, we will focus on recent advances in the understanding of molecular mechanisms that regulate lymphoid development, homeostasis and tolerance. Cytokines play a critical role in the development and differentiation of lymphoid cells. In addition, newer data indicate important roles of interleukin-7 and interleukin-15 in lymphoid homeostasis and memory. Furthermore, a new family of heterodimeric cytokines comprising interleukin-12, interleukin-23 and -27 is important for differentiation of helper T cells and cell-mediated immunity. Finally the importance of tumor necrosis factor superfamily members in the development of lymphoid organs has recently been elucidated and will be discussed in detail. New cytokines and receptors continue to be identified. The discovery and characterization of cytokines, their receptors and signaling molecules will provide a more complete understanding of normal lymphoid development, differentiation and function. In addition, this knowledge should improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of immunological diseases and hopefully will provide new treatment strategies.
    Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology 01/2003; 2(6):495-506. · 3.40 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
131.53 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2012
    • MedImmune, LLC
      Maryland, United States
  • 2004–2008
    • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
      Maryland, United States
  • 2003–2007
    • National Institutes of Health
      Maryland, United States
  • 2002
    • Stanford Medicine
      • Department of Medicine
      Stanford, California, United States
  • 1996–1998
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
      Palo Alto, CA, United States