Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int Immunol. 2012 Apr;24(4):233-42. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxs003. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Transient depletion of B cells in young mice results in activation of regulatory T cells that inhibit development of autoimmune disease in adults.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65212, USA.


B-cell depletion therapy can be effective for treating B-cell lymphomas as well as many human and murine autoimmune diseases. B-cell-deficient mice are normally resistant to spontaneous autoimmune thyroiditis (SAT), but they develop SAT if regulatory T cells are transiently depleted during the first 3-6 weeks after birth. This was also a critical time when B-cell depletion effectively inhibited development of SAT in adult mice. The current study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that transient depletion of B cells using anti-CD20 would be sufficient to suppress SAT if B cells were depleted early in life and that inhibition of SAT would be due to the activity of Treg that functioned most effectively when B cells were absent or low. The results presented here support this hypothesis and indicate that development of autoimmune disease in adults is effectively inhibited when anti-CD20 is administered 1-3 weeks after birth. After 3 weeks, transient B-cell depletion is no longer effective, and B-cell depletion must be maintained to effectively suppress autoimmune disease. B-cell depletion in 1- to 3-week-old mice depletes all B-cell subsets, whereas B-cell depletion initiated in adults spares many marginal zone B cells. Following early B-cell depletion, splenic Treg increase in number, and depletion of Treg reverses the inhibitory effect of anti-CD20 on disease development. Early transient depletion of B cells could be useful for preventing autoimmune disease in individuals at high risk for developing autoimmune diseases as adults.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk