Increased Frequency of Pre-germinal Center B Cells and Plasma Cell Precursors in the Blood of Children with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, United States
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 4.92). 09/2001; 167(4):2361-9. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.167.4.2361
Source: PubMed


We have analyzed the blood B cell subpopulations of children with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and healthy controls. We found that the normal recirculating mature B cell pool is composed of four subsets: conventional naive and memory B cells, a novel B cell subset with pregerminal center phenotype (IgD(+)CD38(+)centerin(+)), and a plasma cell precursor subset (CD20(-)CD19(+/low)CD27(+/++) CD38(++)). In SLE patients, naive and memory B cells (CD20(+)CD38(-)) are approximately 90% reduced, whereas oligoclonal plasma cell precursors are 3-fold expanded, independently of disease activity and modality of therapy. Pregerminal center cells in SLE are decreased to a lesser extent than conventional B cells, and therefore represent the predominant blood B cell subset in a number of patients. Thus, SLE is associated with major blood B cell subset alterations.

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Available from: Michelle A Gill, Dec 17, 2014
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    • "Thus, cooperation of self DNA and low levels of LPS represent an attractively cooperative model of DAMPs and PAMPs, and may serve two important roles: firstly, to aid quick and efficient clearance of infections before they become pathogenic, and secondly, in some circumstances, initiate polyclonal B cell response often characteristic of autoimmune diseases either at the origin [49] or in an amplification loop [50]–[52]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by prominent autoinflammatory tissue damage associated with impaired removal of dying cells and DNA. Self DNA-containing immune complexes are able to activate both innate and adaptive immune responses and play an important role in the maintenance and exacerbation of autoimmunity in SLE. In this study, we used DNA from lymphocytes that have undergone activation-induced cell death (ALD-DNA) and analyzed its role on the activation and differentiation of B cells from normal BALB/c mice as well as lupus-prone MRL+/+ and MRL/lpr mice. We found that ALD-DNA directly increased the expression of costimulatory molecules and the survival of naïve B cells in vitro. Although ALD-DNA alone had little effect on the proliferation of naïve B cells, it enhanced LPS-activated B cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. In addition, ALD-DNA increased plasma cell numbers and IgG production in LPS-stimulated cultures of naïve B cells, in part via enhancing IL-6 production. Importantly, B cells from lupus mice were hyperresponsive to ALD-DNA and/or LPS relative to normal control B cells in terminal plasma cell differentiation, as evidenced by increases in CD138+ cell numbers, IgM production, and mRNA levels of B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (Blimp-1) and the X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1). Furthermore, ALD-DNA enhanced CD40-activated naïve B cell proliferation. Collectively, these data indicate that self DNA can serve as a DAMP (damage-associated molecular pattern) that cooperates with signals from both innate and adaptive immunity to promote polyclonal B cell activation, a common characteristic of autoimmune diseases.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Finally, it is clearly admitted that autoAbs and plasma cells are absolutely central to SLE pathogenesis. Indeed, an increased frequency of plasma cell precursors is detected in the blood of children with SLE [7], and the circulating CD27high plasma cell population is expanded in lupus patients and correlates with disease activity [8]. Moreover, a persistent enhancement of plasma cells defined as CD138+ cells was recently described even in quiescent SLE patients [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Follicular helper T cells (TFH) represent a distinct subset of CD4(+) T cells specialized in providing help to B lymphocytes, which may play a central role in autoimmune diseases having a major B cell component such as systemic lupus erythematosus. Recently, TFH subsets that share common phenotypic and functional characteristics with TFH cells from germinal centers, have been described in the peripheral blood from healthy individuals. The aim of this study was to analyze the distribution of such populations in lupus patients. Circulating TFH cell subsets were defined by multicolor flow cytometry as TFH17 (CXCR3(-)CCR6(+)), TFH1 (CXCR3 (+) CCR6(-)) or TFH2 (CXCR3(-)CCR6(-)) cells among CXCR5 (+) CD45RA(-)CD4(+) T cells in the peripheral blood of 23 SLE patients and 23 sex and age-matched healthy controls. IL-21 receptor expression by B cells was analyzed by flow cytometry and the serum levels of IL-21 and Igs were determined by ELISA tests. We found that the TFH2 cell subset frequency is strongly and significantly increased in lupus patients with an active disease (SLEDAI score>8), while the TFH1 cell subset percentage is greatly decreased. The TFH2 and TFH1 cell subset frequency alteration is associated with the presence of high Ig levels and autoantibodies in patient's sera. Moreover, the TFH2 cell subset enhancement correlates with an increased frequency of double negative memory B cells (CD27(-)IgD(-)CD19(+) cells) expressing the IL-21R. Finally, we found that IgE levels in lupus patients' sera correlate with disease activity and seem to be associated with high TFH2 cell subset frequency. In conclusion, our study describes for the first time the distribution of circulating TFH cell subsets in lupus patients. Interestingly, we found an increased frequency of TFH2 cells, which correlates with disease activity. Our results suggest that this subset might play a key role in lupus pathogenesis.
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    • "Our results confirm that a number of IFN-inducible transcripts are elevated in all three SLE PBMC subsets, and their expression correlated with disease activity. Elevated expression of a number of transcripts related to cytokine activation, cell differentiation, cell cycle regulation, and apoptosis were also observed in SLE PBMC subsets suggestive of increased activation and differentiation as compared to cells from healthy subjects [17], [25], [26]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that is characterized by defective immune tolerance combined with immune cell hyperactivity resulting in the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. Previous gene expression studies employing whole blood or peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) have demonstrated that a majority of patients with active disease have increased expression of type I interferon (IFN) inducible transcripts known as the IFN signature. The goal of the current study was to assess the gene expression profiles of isolated leukocyte subsets obtained from SLE patients. Subsets including CD19(+) B lymphocytes, CD3(+)CD4(+) T lymphocytes and CD33(+) myeloid cells were simultaneously sorted from PBMC. The SLE transcriptomes were assessed for differentially expressed genes as compared to healthy controls. SLE CD33(+) myeloid cells exhibited the greatest number of differentially expressed genes at 208 transcripts, SLE B cells expressed 174 transcripts and SLE CD3(+)CD4(+) T cells expressed 92 transcripts. Only 4.4% (21) of the 474 total transcripts, many associated with the IFN signature, were shared by all three subsets. Transcriptional profiles translated into increased protein expression for CD38, CD63, CD107a and CD169. Moreover, these studies demonstrated that both SLE lymphoid and myeloid subsets expressed elevated transcripts for cytosolic RNA and DNA sensors and downstream effectors mediating IFN and cytokine production. Prolonged upregulation of nucleic acid sensing pathways could modulate immune effector functions and initiate or contribute to the systemic inflammation observed in SLE.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · PLoS ONE
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