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Anti-CD20 Depletes Meningeal B Cells but Does Not Halt the Formation of Meningeal Ectopic Lymphoid Tissue.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2021 May 21;8(4):e1012. doi: 10.1212/NXI.0000000000001012. PMID: 34021057; PMCID: PMC8143698.

Authors/Editors: Brand RM, Friedrich V, Diddens J, Pfaller M, Romana de Franchis F, Radbruch H, Hemmer B, Steiger K, Lehmann-Horn K.
Publication Date: 2021


Objective: To investigate whether anti-CD20 B-cell-depleting monoclonal antibodies (ɑCD20 mAbs) inhibit the formation or retention of meningeal ectopic lymphoid tissue (mELT) in a murine model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: We used a spontaneous chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of mice with mutant T-cell and B-cell receptors specific for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), which develop meningeal inflammatory infiltrates resembling those described in MS. ɑCD20 mAbs were administered in either a preventive or a treatment regimen. The extent and cellular composition of mELT was assessed by histology and immunohistochemistry.

Results: ɑCD20 mAb, applied in a paradigm to either prevent or treat EAE, did not alter the disease course in either condition. However, ɑCD20 mAb depleted virtually all B cells from the meningeal compartment but failed to prevent the formation of mELT altogether. Because of the absence of B cells, mELT was less densely populated with immune cells and the cellular composition was changed, with increased neutrophil granulocytes.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that, in CNS autoimmune disease, meningeal inflammatory infiltrates may form and persist in the absence of B cells. Together with the finding that ɑCD20 mAb does not ameliorate spontaneous chronic EAE with mELT, our data suggest that mELT may have yet unknown capacities that are independent of B cells and contribute to CNS autoimmunity.

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