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Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2016 Oct 24;3(6):e292. eCollection 2016 Dec.

Natalizumab treatment leads to an increase in circulating CXCR3-expressing B cells.

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Department of Neurology (M.S), University of Turku; TYKSLAB (T.-L.P.), Laboratory of Clinical Haematology, Turku University Hospital; and Division of Clinical Neurosciences (L.A.), Turku University Hospital, and University of Turku, Finland.



To study the effects of natalizumab treatment on subgroups of circulating peripheral blood B cell populations.


We studied the proportions and absolute numbers of CD19+CD20+, CD10+, and CD5+ B cell populations, and determined very late activation antigen-4 and chemokine receptor CXCR3, CCR5, and CCR6 expression on B cells in the peripheral blood of 14 natalizumab-treated patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Five blood samples per patient were obtained longitudinally before and during the first year of treatment. Blood samples were analyzed by 6-color flow cytometry.


Proportions of B cells and CD10+ pre-B cells were significantly increased, and very late activation antigen-4 expression on the B cell surface was significantly decreased already after 1 week of natalizumab treatment. Natalizumab-induced sustained increase in the proportion and absolute number of CXCR3-expressing B cells was statistically significant after 1 month of treatment. There were no changes in the proportions of CCR5- or CCR6-expressing B cells.


The rapid and persistent increase in circulating CXCR3-expressing B cells in response to natalizumab treatment possibly reflects the relevance of this chemokine receptor in controlling migration of B cells into the CNS in humans in vivo.

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