Antibody (Ab) production and the presence of B cells within the central nervous system (CNS) is well documented in humans with the demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis (MS) and those afflicted by neurotropic infections. Their role in MS is currently unclear. However, detrimental humoral responses are implied by ongoing immune activation due to ectopic B cell follicle formation, as well as improvement in MS patients treated with anti-CD20 monoclonal Ab rituximab to reduce circulating B cells. Antibody secreting cells (ASC) are also detrimental if Ab are cross-reactive with, or directly target, self antigens. By contrast, during viral CNS infections intrathecal humoral responses are associated with protective functions. Locally produced anti-viral Ab coincide with sustained immune control within the CNS without overt pathology implicating a potent non lytic anti-viral role. Furthermore, the potential danger of losing control of clinically inapparent persisting viruses became apparent by development of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy following rituximab treatment during therapy for rheumatoid arthritis and MS. Despite the biological significance of humoral immunity in diverse settings of neuroinflammation, how Ab production in the CNS is sustained and which B cell populations and environmental factors support differentiation of ASC remain poorly characterized. This proposal uses a neurotropic coronavirus model of acute and persistent infection associated with demyelination to define the interactions between peripheral and CNS humoral responses in supporting CNS Ab production. The overall goal is to broaden insights into treatment options for inflammatory diseases such as MS, without provoking emergence of endogenous viruses, as well as targeting acute viral encephalitis.
Three Specific Aims are pursued.
Aim 1 will define the contribution of peripheral lymphoid tissue derived B cells in replenishing and maintaining ASC within the CNS. Results will reveal whether all B cells within the CNS are germinal center derived, and whether ASC migrating to the CNS differentiate within the CNS to become long lived ASC. Furthermore, the unexplored role of non Ab producing memory B cells (Bmem) to CNS humoral immunity will be defined. The role of antigen (Ag) and CD4 T cells in promoting B cell differentiation to sessile ASC within the CNS will be determined in Aims 2 and 3, respectively. Approaches are based on immunization of transgenic mice in which germinal center derived B cells are marked by fluorescence to isolate ASC and Bmem for adoptive transfer. Their CNS migration, differentiation and protective capacity will be monitored in recipients defective in Ab production. The influence of cognate Ag is examined by variations in donor B cell specificities, and inflammatory insult. T cell """"""""help"""""""" will be assessed b CD4 T cell ablation and supplementation approaches. The results will for the first time define the parameters regulating both protective and pathogenic responses associated with B cells during human autoimmunity and CNS infections.

Public Health Relevance

Antibody secreting cells (ASC) in the central nervous system (CNS) are a common hallmark of neuroinflammation induced by infection as well as autoimmunity. Nevertheless, their contribution to local viral control or ongoing disease is poorly understood. While they appear to provide an effective protective component in controlling viral CNS infections, they are implicated in driving ongoing immune pathology during the demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis (MS). The overall goals of this proposal are to determine how distinct B cell subsets activated and residing in lymphoid tissues contribute to maintaining long term humoral responses within the inflamed CNS. Insights into the precursor B cells giving rise to ASC in the CNS are essential for novel treatment paradigms to control viral encephalitis and treat chronic inflammatory conditions, such as MS without evoking reemergence of persisting CNS infections.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
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Clinical Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumors Study Section (CNBT)
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Wong, May
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Cleveland Clinic Lerner
Other Basic Sciences
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Atkinson, Jeffrey R; Bergmann, Cornelia C (2017) Protective Humoral Immunity in the Central Nervous System Requires Peripheral CD19-Dependent Germinal Center Formation following Coronavirus Encephalomyelitis. J Virol 91:
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Phares, Timothy W; DiSano, Krista D; Stohlman, Stephen A et al. (2016) CXCL13 promotes isotype-switched B cell accumulation to the central nervous system during viral encephalomyelitis. Brain Behav Immun 54:128-139
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