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Int J Rheum Dis. 2014 Mar 2. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12325. [Epub ahead of print]

Changes in peripheral blood B cell subsets at diagnosis and after treatment with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: correlation with clinical and laboratory parameters.

Author information

  • 1Division of Human Immunology, SA Pathology (IMVS), Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; Immunology and Allergy Unit, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess variation in peripheral blood B lymphocyte subsets in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS:

B lymphocyte subsets in disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD)-naïve patients with RA (n = 30), patients with RA treated with DMARDs (n = 73) and healthy controls (n = 46) were analyzed by flow cytometry. Total B cells, total memory B cells, immunoglobulin M (IgM) memory B cells, switched memory B cells, non-switched memory B cells, CD21lo B cells, transitional B cells and plasmablasts were measured. Correlation with clinical and laboratory parameters was performed.

RESULTS:

Total memory B cells, IgM memory B cells and non-switched memory B cells were reduced in RA patients at diagnosis compared to controls (P < 0.05). In patients with treated RA, there was a further reduction of total B cells, CD21lo cells, transitional B cells and plasmablasts, compared to controls (P < 0.05). The reduction in absolute numbers of total B cells, switched memory B cells, CD21lo cells, transitional B cells and plasmablasts in treated RA patients was significant (P < 0.05) even when compared to the DMARD-naïve patients. Only treatment responders (Disease Activity Score < 3.2) had reduced total B cells and absolute numbers of switched and IgM memory B cells (P < 0.05). In patients requiring leflunomide, total memory B cells, IgM memory B cells, non-switched memory B cells and absolute numbers of switched memory B cells were reduced compared with the remainder of the patient group (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION:

There is reduction of various B cell subsets in RA patients at diagnosis. Treatment with DMARDs leads to further reduction in additional B cell subsets without correction of the abnormalities. Reduction in individual subsets may predict RA patients requiring more intensive therapy.

© 2014 Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.

KEYWORDS:

B cell subsets; B cells; CCP/ACPA; disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs; flow cytometry; memory B cells; rheumatoid arthritis

PMID:
24589014
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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