Anti-MS4a4B treatment abrogates MS4a4B-mediated protection in T cells and ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Apoptosis. 2013 Sep;18(9):1106-19. doi: 10.1007/s10495-013-0870-2.


Recent data show that anti-CD20 therapy is effective for some autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the efficacy of anti-CD20 therapy for MS is largely limited because anti-CD20 antibodies target only B cells. In previous studies, we have investigated the function of MS4a4B, a novel CD20 homologue, in T cell proliferation. Here, we found that MS4a4B regulates not only T cell proliferation but also T cell apoptosis. Knockdown of MS4a4B by MS4a4B-siRNA or MS4a4B-shRNA-expressing vector promoted apoptosis in primary T cells and T32 cell line. In contrast, vector-driven over-expression of MS4a4B reduced apoptosis in EL-4 cells. Machinery analysis showed that MS4a4B-mediated T cell survival was associated with decreased activity of caspases 3, 8 and 9. Interestingly, binding of anti-MS4a4B antibodies to T cells induced activated T cells to undergo apoptosis. To test whether anti-MS4a4B antibody interferes with MS4a4B-mediated protection of T cells, we injected anti-MS4a4B antibodies into mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The results show that anti-MS4a4B treatment ameliorated the severity of EAE, accompanied by decreased Th1 and Th17 cell responses and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the central nervous system, suggesting that MS4a4B may serve as a target of antibody-based therapy for T cell-mediated diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / genetics
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / immunology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / cytology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / cytology
  • Th17 Cells / immunology


  • Antibodies
  • Cytokines
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Ms4a4b protein, mouse
  • RNA, Small Interfering