B cell depletion reduces the number of autoreactive T helper cells and prevents glucose-6-phosphate isomerase-induced arthritis

PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24718. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024718. Epub 2011 Sep 8.


The therapeutic benefit of B cell depletion in patients with rheumatoid arthritis has provided proof of concept that B cells are relevant for the pathogenesis of arthritis. It remains unknown which B cell effector functions contribute to the induction or chronification of arthritis. We studied the clinical and immunological effects of B cell depletion in glucose-6-phosphate isomerase-induced arthritis. We targeted CD22 to deplete B cells. Mice were depleted of B cells before or after immunization with glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (G6PI). The clinical and histological effects were studied. G6PI-specific antibody responses were measured by ELISA. G6PI-specific T helper (Th) cell responses were assayed by polychromatic flow cytometry. B cell depletion prior to G6PI-immunization prevented arthritis. B cell depletion after immunization ameliorated arthritis, whereas B cell depletion in arthritic mice was ineffective. Transfer of antibodies from arthritic mice into B cell depleted recipients did not reconstitute arthritis. B cell depleted mice harbored much fewer G6PI-specific Th cells than control animals. B cell depletion prevents but does not cure G6PI-induced arthritis. Arthritis prevention upon B cell depletion is associated with a drastic reduction in the number of G6PI-specific effector Th cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / immunology
  • Arthritis / etiology
  • Arthritis / immunology*
  • Arthritis / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase / immunology*
  • Mice


  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase