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Blood. 2010 Jun 17;115(24):5026-36. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-09-243071. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Complement receptor 2/CD21- human naive B cells contain mostly autoreactive unresponsive clones.

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Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA.


Complement receptor 2-negative (CR2/CD21(-)) B cells have been found enriched in patients with autoimmune diseases and in common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) patients who are prone to autoimmunity. However, the physiology of CD21(-/lo) B cells remains poorly characterized. We found that some rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients also display an increased frequency of CD21(-/lo) B cells in their blood. A majority of CD21(-/lo) B cells from RA and CVID patients expressed germline autoreactive antibodies, which recognized nuclear and cytoplasmic structures. In addition, these B cells were unable to induce calcium flux, become activated, or proliferate in response to B-cell receptor and/or CD40 triggering, suggesting that these autoreactive B cells may be anergic. Moreover, gene array analyses of CD21(-/lo) B cells revealed molecules specifically expressed in these B cells and that are likely to induce their unresponsive stage. Thus, CD21(-/lo) B cells contain mostly autoreactive unresponsive clones, which express a specific set of molecules that may represent new biomarkers to identify anergic B cells in humans.

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