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Arthritis Rheum. 2002 Dec;46(12):3259-65.

RP105-lacking B cells from lupus patients are responsible for the production of immunoglobulins and autoantibodies.

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  • 1Saga Medical School, Saga, Japan.



We previously reported that B cells lacking the RP105 molecule, which proved to be highly activated B cells, are increased in the peripheral blood of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In the present study, we attempted to determine whether RP105-negative B cells obtained from SLE patients would be capable of producing autoantibodies as well as immunoglobulins.


RP105-positive and RP105-negative B cells, sorted by cell sorter, were cultured for 5 days without stimulation, or were stimulated with Staphylococcus aureus Cowan 1 strain (SAC) or recombinant interleukin-6 (IL-6). For the assay of autoantibodies, RP105-positive and RP105-negative B cells were cultured separately for 10 days with anti-CD3 antibody-stimulated T cells. The production of immunoglobulins and autoantibodies was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


We demonstrated that RP105-negative B cells, but not RP105-positive B cells, obtained from SLE patients could spontaneously produce IgG and IgM in vitro until day 5. SAC and IL-6 enhanced production of IgG and IgM by RP105-negative B cells but failed to induce such production by RP105-positive B cells. The latter cells, however, when cocultured with activated T cells in the presence of IL-10, produced IgG, although the amount was very small compared with that produced by RP105-negative B cells. Most important, under these conditions, anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies were produced only by the RP105-negative B cells obtained from SLE patients.


These data indicate that RP105-negative B cells, constituting a subset of B cells in SLE patients, are highly activated and may be responsible for the production of autoantibodies as well as polyclonal immunoglobulins.

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