Characterization of the B cell response to Leishmania infection after anti-CD20 B cell depletion

Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015 Jun 1;8(6):6192-202. eCollection 2015.


Anti-CD20 depletion therapies targeting B cells are commonly used in malignant B cell disease and autoimmune diseases. There are concerns about the ability of B cells to respond to infectious diseases acquired either before or after B cell depletion. There is evidence that the B cell response to existing or acquired viral infections is compromised during treatment, as well as the antibody response to vaccination. Our laboratory has an experimental system using co-infection of C3H mice with both Leishmania major and Leishmania amazonensis that suggests that the B cell response is important to healing infected mice. We tested if anti-CD20 treatment would completely restrict the B cell response to these intracellular pathogens. Infected mice that received anti-CD20 B cell depletion therapy had a significant decrease in CD19(+) cells within their lymph nodes and spleens. However, splenic B cells were detected in depleted mice and an antigen-specific antibody response was produced. These results indicate that an antigen-specific B cell response towards intracellular pathogens can be generated during anti-CD20 depletion therapy.

Keywords: B cell; CD20; Leishmania; immunohistochemistry.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / immunology
  • Antigens, CD19 / immunology
  • Antigens, CD20 / immunology*
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / parasitology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Leishmania major / immunology*
  • Leishmania mexicana / immunology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / immunology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / parasitology
  • Lymph Nodes / drug effects
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Depletion / methods*
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Remission Induction
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Antigens, CD19
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Antigens, Protozoan