Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Arthritis Research & Therapy and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Reduced Fas ligand-expressing splenic CD5+ B lymphocytes in severe collagen-induced arthritis

Steven K Lundy12* and David A Fox12

Author affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Michigan Medical School, 4043 Biomedical Sciences Research Building, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200, USA

2 Rheumatic Diseases Core Center, University of Michigan Medical School, 3918 Taubman Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5358, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:R128  doi:10.1186/ar2795

Published: 25 August 2009

Abstract

Introduction

The objective was to study immune regulation in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis that exhibits considerable heterogeneity of disease activity.

Methods

T-cell receptor transgenic mice, in which nearly all CD4+ T cells recognize a single peptide of type II collagen, were immunized with collagen and observed for development of arthritis for 4 weeks. At 28 days post-immunization, splenocytes were analyzed by flow cytometry and in vitro assays for markers of immune activation and regulation.

Results

Disease severities ranging from 0 to 12 (on a 12-point scale) were observed. Among splenic lymphocyte populations, only the CD5+ B-cell subset displayed a decrease in relative numbers as arthritis severity increased. Splenic CD5+ B cells expressed higher levels of Fas ligand (FasL) than did CD4+ T cells or CD5- B cells in all mice, and antigen-dependent T-cell death correlated with higher levels of CD5+ B cells in cocultures. Ratios of interleukin (IL)-17 to interferon-gamma production were higher in antigen-driven cultures of splenocytes from severely arthritic mice compared to mildly or nonarthritic mice. A correlation was established between the reduced production of IL-17 in antigen-driven T-cell/B-cell cocultures and FasL, but not IL-10. Confirmation of the direct killing effect of B cells on T cells was demonstrated using an antigen-specific T hybridoma cell line.

Conclusions

Reduced numbers of splenic FasL+ CD5+ B cells correlated with increasing arthritis severity and decreased T-cell death in a T-cell receptor transgenic mouse model of collagen-induced arthritis. These 'killer' B cells may provide a novel mechanism for inducing T-cell death as a treatment for arthritis.