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Biomed Pharmacother. 2004 Jun;58(5):338-43.

Increased peripheral blood B-cells expressing the CD5 molecules in association to autoantibodies in patients with lupus erythematosus and evidence to selectively down-modulate them.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Bonn, Sigmund-Freud Strasse 25, Bonn 53105, Germany.


The present investigation has been undertaken to analyze absolute and relative CD5+ B-cell numbers in patients with lupus erythematosus (LE), and concomitant B-CLL, and to monitor them under therapy. Peripheral blood lymphocytes of LE-patients, and healthy controls were analyzed by flow cytometry and direct immunofluorescence technique. Patients were treated with low-dose methotrexate (MTX). Before and during MTX treatment laboratory monitoring has been done. LE-patients had increased percentages of CD5+CD19+ as compared to controls (p < 0.0002), the absolute number of CD5+ B-cells was equal in controls and patients. Autoantibodies were positively correlated to the number of CD5+ B-cells in LE-patients. In a total of 140 LE-patients one male patient suffered from both LE and B-CLL (0.7%). He had increased absolute and relative CD5+ B-cells. MTX induced significant decrease of both total B-cell numbers, and CD5+ B-cells. The decrease of CD5+CD19+ cells was more pronounced than the decrease of total B-cells. Apoptosis rate increased in parallel to the drop-down of elevated CD5+CD19+ cells. Peripheral T-cell subsets remained stable under low-dose MTX. Both absolute and relative numbers of CD5+CD19+ cells should be taken into account in patients with LE. MTX seems to decrease B-cells, and preferentially to down-regulate B-cells expressing the CD5 molecule, which opens new therapeutic options and cell biological activities. The mechanism is unclear but apoptosis induction seems to be likely.

Copyright 2004 Elsevier SAS

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