BAFF controls neural cell survival through BAFF receptor

PLoS One. 2013 Jul 29;8(7):e70924. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070924. Print 2013.


Various neuroprotective factors have been shown to help prevention of neuronal cell death, which is responsible for the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, most of these therapeutic potentials have been tested by administration of recombinant proteins, transgenic expression or virus vector-mediated gene transfer. Therefore, it remains to be clarified whether any endogenous factors has advantage for neuroprotection in a pathological nervous system. Here we show the role of BAFF-R signaling pathway in the control of neural cell survival. Both B cell-activating factor (BAFF) and its receptor (BAFF-R) are expressed in mouse neurons and BAFF-R deficiency reduces the survival of primary cultured neurons. Although many studies have so far addressed the functional role of BAFF-R on the differentiation of B cells, impaired BAFF-R signaling resulted in accelerated disease progression in an animal model of inherited ALS. We further demonstrate that BAFF-R deficient bone marrow cells or genetic depletion of B cells does not affect the disease progression, indicating that BAFF-mediated signals on neurons, not on B cells, support neural cell survival. These findings suggest opportunities to improve therapeutic outcome for patients with neurodegenerative diseases by synthesized BAFF treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / genetics
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / metabolism*
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor / genetics
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor / metabolism*
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1


  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor
  • SOD1 protein, human
  • Tnfsf13b protein, mouse
  • Sod1 protein, mouse
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1

Grants and funding

This study was financially supported in part by Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) to ST (No. 24790883) from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (GSR, S) to HK (No. 20229007) from MEXT, GSR on Innovative Areas to HM (No. 24111531) from MEXT, and Health and Labour Sciences Research Grants for Intractable Diseases to YN (No. 22590931) from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.