Natalizumab, which binds very late antigen-4 (VLA-4), is a potent therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS). Studies have focused primarily upon its capacity to interfere with T-cell migration into the central nervous system (CNS). B cells are important in MS pathogenesis and express high levels of VLA-4. Here, we report that the selective inhibition of VLA-4 expression on B cells impedes CNS accumulation of B cells, and recruitment of Th17 cells and macrophages, and reduces susceptibility to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. These results underscore the importance of B-cell VLA-4 expression in the pathogenesis of CNS autoimmunity and provide insight regarding mechanisms that may contribute to the benefit of natalizumab in MS, as well as candidate therapeutics that selectively target B cells.
© 2015 The Authors Annals of Neurology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Neurological Association.