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Discov Med. 2011 Jan;11(56):76-85.

Cytokine regulation of B-cell migratory behavior favors formation of germinal centers in autoimmune disease.

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Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


Chemotaxis is essential for shaping immune responses and chemokine-receptor antagonists are now being evaluated as therapies for various inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. However, the dysregulation of chemotaxis in autoimmune disease may involve both promotion and inhibition of B-cell migration. This review focuses on the disparate mechanisms by which two inflammatory cytokines that have been associated with autoimmune disease, namely interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) and interleukin-17 (IL-17), may regulate B-cell migratory responses. Chemotactic responses play a key role in orchestrating the cell-cell interactions in the germinal centers (GCs). This process involves active shuttling of the antigen-carrying B cells between the marginal zone and the GCs. We have shown that in autoimmune BXD2 mice, the migration of marginal zone precursor B cells is promoted by high levels of IFN-alpha produced by plasmacytoid dendritic cells in the marginal sinus that antagonize the activity of the S1P(1) chemokine receptor. In contrast, within the GCs, interleukin-17A (IL-17A) upregulates the expression of regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) in B cells to desensitize the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling pathway of CXCL12 and CXCL13 chemokines. This promotes a prolonged stable interaction of B and T cells in the GC that induces high levels of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AICDA) thereby enabling development of pathogenic autoantibody-producing B cells.

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