Anti-interleukin-6 signalling therapy rebalances the disrupted cytokine production of B cells from patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.

Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with abnormal B cell-functions implicating antibody-dependent and -independent mechanisms. B cells have emerged as important cytokine-producing cells, and cytokines are well-known drivers of RA pathogenesis. To identify novel cytokine-mediated B-cell functions in RA, we comprehensively analysed the capacity of B cells from RA patients with an inadequate response to disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs to produce cytokines in comparison with healthy donors (HD). RA B cells displayed a constitutively higher production of the pathogenic factors interleukin (IL)-8 and Gro-α, while their production of several cytokines upon activation via the B cell receptor for antigen (BCR) was broadly suppressed, including a loss of the expression of the protective factor TRAIL, compared to HD B cells. These defects were partly erased after treatment with the IL-6-signalling inhibitor tocilizumab, indicating that abnormal IL-6 signalling contributed to these abnormalities. Noteworthy, the clinical response of individual patients to tocilizumab therapy could be predicted using the amounts of MIP-1β and β-NGF produced by these patients' B cells before treatment. Taken together, our study highlights hitherto unknown abnormal B-cell functions in RA patients, which are related to the unbalanced cytokine network, and are potentially relevant for RA pathogenesis and treatment.

DOI: 10.1002/eji.201747191

Cite this paper

@article{Fleischer2017Antiinterleukin6ST, title={Anti-interleukin-6 signalling therapy rebalances the disrupted cytokine production of B cells from patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.}, author={Sarah J. Fleischer and Stefanie Ries and Ping Shen and Alix Lheritier and Fr{\'e}d{\'e}ric Cazals and Gerd R{\"{u}diger Burmester and Thomas Doerner and Simon Fillatreau}, journal={European journal of immunology}, year={2017} }