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J Mult Scler (Foster City). 2015 May;2(2). pii: 1000139.

Blood B Cell and Regulatory Subset Content in Multiple Sclerosis Patients.

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Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University School of Medicine, 1365 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.
Department of Neurology, Emory MS Center, 1365 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30322, USA.
Department of Neurology, Emory MS Center, 1365 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30322, USA ; Department of Neurology (GEC), Atlanta VA Medical Center, 1670 Clairmont Road, Decatur, GA 30033.



B cell targeted therapies have been effective in slowing multiple sclerosis (MS) disease progression suggesting a direct causal link for this lymphoid subset. A small subset of B cells with regulative properties (Bregs) exists in peripheral blood, and induction of Bregs ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the murine model for MS. Therefore the frequency of B cell subsets and regulatory B cells in particular in peripheral blood of MS patients is of interest.


The phenotype and frequency of B cell subsets in peripheral blood from 32 MS patients and 34 healthy controls (HC) were examined using flow cytometry.


We found that there is an increase in CD19+ cell number in MS 1347 ± 159 cells/μL, (average ± SEM) compared to HC, 935 ± 129 cells/μL and no apparent deficiency in B-cells with a regulatory phenotype. In addition, we observed a loss of correlation between CD19+ B cells and total lymphocyte count in MS.


These findings suggest altered blood B-cell homeostasis in MS patients.


B cells; Flow cytometry; IL-10; Multiple sclerosis; Regulatory B cells; Rituximab

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