Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Immunol. 2018 Mar;48(3):509-521. doi: 10.1002/eji.201747127. Epub 2018 Jan 15.

Age-associated B cells expanded in autoimmune mice are memory cells sharing H-CDR3-selected repertoires.

Author information

Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Division of Clinical Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, Karolinska Institutet at Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.
B Cell Physiopathology Unit, Immunology Research Area, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital IRCCS, Rome, Italy.


Age-associated B cells (ABCs) represent a distinct cell population expressing low levels of CD21 (CD21-/low ). The Ig repertoire expressed by ABCs in aged mice is diverse and exhibits signs of somatic hypermutation (SHM). A CD21-/low B-cell population is expanded in autoimmune diseases, e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus, as well as in lupus-prone NZB/W mice and in mice lacking a pre-B cell receptor (SLC-/- ). However, the nature of the CD21-/low B cells (hereafter ABCs) in autoimmunity is not well understood. Here we show that in young SLC-/- mice, the vast majority of the ABCs express memory B-cell (MBC) markers in contrast to wild-type controls. A similar population is present in lupus-prone MRL mice before and at disease onset. In SLC-/- mice, a majority of the ABCs are IgM+ , their VH genes have undergone SHM, show clonal diversification and clonal restriction at the H-CDR3 level. ABC hybridomas, established from SLC-/- mice, secrete typical lupus autoantibodies, e.g. anti-Smith antigen, and some of those that bind to DNA comprise a H-CDR3 that is identical to previously described IgM anti-DNA antibodies from lupus-prone mice. Together, these results reveal that ABCs in autoimmune mice are comprised of autoreactive MBCs expressing highly restricted H-CDR3 repertoires.


Autoimmunity; CD21−/low B cells; H-CDR3 repertoire; Memory B cells; SLE animal model

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center