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Publication Detail
The effect of B-cell depletion therapy on serological evidence of B-cell and plasmablast activation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis over multiple cycles of rituximab treatment.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Cambridge G, Perry HC, Nogueira L, Serre G, Parsons HM, De La Torre I, Dickson MC, Leandro MJ, Edwards JCW
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    67, 76
  • Journal:
    J Autoimmun
  • Volume:
  • Status:
  • Country:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Autoantibodies, B-cell depletion, BAFF, Biomarkers, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rituximab, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived, Antirheumatic Agents, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Autoantibodies, B-Cell Activating Factor, B-Lymphocyte Subsets, Biomarkers, Cell Differentiation, Gene Expression, Humans, Immunoglobulin M, Lymphocyte Activation, Lymphocyte Depletion, Middle Aged, Plasma Cells, Receptors, IgE, Recurrence, Remission Induction, Rituximab, Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7
B-cell depletion therapy (BCDT) based on rituximab (RTX) induces clinical remission in a majority of seropositive patients with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, all patients eventually relapse. The aim of this study was to determine whether dynamic changes in combinations of serological measures of B-cell activation were associated over up to three cycles of BCDT. We included only RA patients who gave an adequate clinical response, as measured by DAS28. Twenty three patients were studied over 1 cycle, 21 over 2, and 15 over 3 cycles of BCDT. Serum analytes including isotypes of Rheumatoid factors (RhF) and anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies (ACPA), B-cell activating factor (BAFF), serum free light chains (SFLC), soluble CD23 (sCD23), antibodies to tetanus toxoid (TT) and to pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide (PCP) were measured by ELISA at 4 key points in each cycle, namely: Baseline (pre-RTX in each cycle); when B-cell depleted (CD19+B-cells < 5/μl); at B-cell return (CD19+B-cells ≥ 5/μl); and at clinical relapse (ΔDAS28 > 1.2). SFLC were used as a measure of plasmablast activity. As sCD23 is cleaved from naïve B-cells coincident with attaining CD27 expression, levels were used as a novel measure of maturation of B-cells to CD27+. The most consistent changes between baseline and B-cell depletion within all 3 cycles were in SFLC, sCD23 and IgM-RhF which fell and in BAFF levels which rose. After 3 complete cycles of BCDT, both IgM autoantibodies and IgG-CCP had decreased, BAFF levels were higher (all p < 0.05); other analytes remained unchanged compared with baseline. Dynamic changes in λSFLC, sCD23, IgM-RhF and BAFF were also consistently associated with relapse in patients with longer clinical responses after B-cell return. Incremental rises in sCD23 levels in cycles 2 and 3 were correlated with time to relapse. Repopulation of the periphery after BCDT is initiated by naïve B-cells and precedes relapse. Our study showed that differentiation into plasmablasts, attended by sCD23 and SFLC production and IgM-RhF specificity may be required to precipitate relapse in patients experiencing longer responses after RTX. These studies also provide novel information related to the resumption of autoimmune responses and their association with B-cell kinetics following BCDT.
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