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  • PMID: 24127227 was deleted because it is a duplicate of PMID: 24504816
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Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Feb;66(2):433-43. doi: 10.1002/art.38222.

CD21(-/low) marginal zone B cells highly express Fc receptor-like 5 protein and are killed by anti-Fc receptor-like 5 immunotoxins in hepatitis C virus-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia vasculitis.

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  • 1UMR CNRS 7211, INSERM U959, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpetrière, and Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 6, Paris, France.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with B cell lymphoproliferative disorders, including mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC) vasculitis and B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The expansion of clonal and autoreactive rheumatoid factor-bearing CD21(-/low) marginal zone (MZ) B cells was demonstrated in patients with HCV-associated MC vasculitis. Fc receptor-like (FCRL) proteins comprise a family of immunoregulatory proteins preferentially expressed on B lineage cells. The goal of this study was to investigate the expression of FCRL proteins 1-5 on B cells from patients with HCV-associated MC vasculitis.


Expression of FCRL proteins 1-5 was assessed by flow cytometry on B cells from 15 HCV-infected patients with type II MC (7 of whom had B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma), 20 HCV-infected patients without MC, and 20 healthy donors. To evaluate FCRL-5 as an immunotherapy target in HCV-associated MC vasculitis, 2 anti-FCRL-5 recombinant immunotoxins were produced using anti-FCRL-5 monoclonal antibodies and Pseudomonas exotoxin.


Expression of FCRLs 2, 3, and 5 was markedly increased while expression of FCRL-1 was decreased on clonal CD21(-/low) MZ B cells, as compared with other B cell subsets, from HCV-infected patients and healthy donors. However, there was no difference in the pattern of FCRL expression between HCV-MC patients with lymphoma and those without lymphoma. The anti-FCRL-5 immunotoxins showed specific cytotoxicity against FCRL-5-expressing clonal CD21(-/low) MZ B cells isolated from HCV-infected patients as well as FCRL-5-transfected cell lines. No cytotoxicity against T cells or conventional B cells was observed.


These findings suggest that FCRL-5-targeting therapies could be a specific treatment for HCV-associated MC vasculitis and other FCRL-5-positive autoimmune B cell disorders.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Rheumatology.

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