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Dysregulation of B lymphocyte development in the SKG mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis.

Immunology 2023 September 10
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and systemic inflammatory disease that affects approximately 1% of the world's population and is characterised by joint inflammation, the destruction of articular cartilage and bone, and many potentially life-threatening extraarticular manifestations. B lymphocytes play a central role in the pathology of rheumatoid arthritis as the precursors of autoantibody secreting plasma cells, as highly potent antigen-presenting cells, and as a source of various inflammatory cytokines, however, the effects of rheumatoid arthritis on B lymphocyte development remain poorly understood. Here, we analyse B lymphocyte development in murine models of rheumatoid arthritis, quantifying all the subsets of B cell precursors in the bone marrow and splenic B cells using flow cytometry. We demonstrate a severe reduction in pre-B cells and immature B cells in the bone marrow of mice with active disease, despite no major effects on the mature naïve B cell numbers. The loss of B cell precursors in the bone marrow of the affected mice was associated with a highly significant reduction in the proportion of Ki67+ cells, indicating impaired cell proliferation, while the viability of the B cell precursors was not significantly affected. We also observed some mobilisation of the B cell precursor cells into the mouse spleen, demonstrated with flow cytometry and pre-B colony forming units assays. In summary, the current work demonstrates a severe dysregulation in B lymphocyte development in murine rheumatoid arthritis, with possible implications for B cell repertoire formation, tolerance induction, and disease mechanisms.

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