Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that may develop with the help of B cells. One piece of evidence that suggests this is the ability of B cell depletion therapy to reduce MS-related CNS inflammation. Since T helper cells (especially Th17) are believed to mediate MS development, studies that determine how B cells influence T helper cells are important in understanding MS pathogenesis.
To determine if B cells can promote TH17 responses, researchers performed experiments that analyzed T cell proliferation and interactions between B and T cells. They used healthy-donor primary cells [specifically, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)] collected by leukopheresis at HemaCare. The primary cells from patients with MS were obtained from volunteer patients at the study’s medical center. These researchers also isolated B cells (memory or naïve) and T cells, incubated these together (co-cultured) with or without neuro-antigens, then analyzed Th17 cytokine levels.
It was evident from the studies that the MS-derived B cells could induce T cell proliferation in response to neuro-antigens. In the MS-related memory B-T co-cultures, T helper cell proliferation in response to neuro-antigens was significantly higher when compared to healthy-donor co-cultures. Also, the number of naïve B-T cell co-cultures whose T helper cells responded to neuro-antigen was much higher for the MS-derived cells. Cytotoxic T cell proliferation was not different between MS-related and healthy-donor co-cultures, but the number of naïve B-T cell co-cultures whose cytotoxic T cells responded to neuro-antigen was much higher for the MS-derived cells.
Analyses of cytokine levels show that the memory and naïve B-T co-cultures from patients with MS had higher Th17 cytokine levels than the co-cultures from healthy donors. Additional experimental results suggest that the ability of MS-derived B cells to promote Th17 responses to neuro-antigens was not due to a bias toward T cell subtypes in the MS-derived cells. Overall, the results of this study show that MS-derived B cells promote neuro-antigen-specific Th17 responses. Uncovering the mechanisms of this phenomenon can drive studies to develop therapies that can affect the B and T cell interactions that can effectively treat MS.
HemaCare is proud to support researchers working to further understand multiple sclerosis. Learn more about our products, including peripheral blood mononuclear cells, inquire today at 877-397-3087 and speak to one of our specialists.
Ireland, Sara J. et al. "B Cells From Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Patients Support Neuro-Antigen-Specific Th17 Responses". N.p., 2017. Print.