Australian scientists have discovered subsets of immune cells that differ between people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) and those who don’t. Because the prevalence of these cells correlates with autoimmune attacks, they represent potential targets for MS therapies.
The study, “IgG3 + B cells are associated with the development of multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Clinical and Translational Immunology.
Using a cutting-edge technology called mass cytometry, which can measure features of single cells, researchers at The University of Sydney discovered nine different subsets of B-cells, according to a press release from MS Research Australia, which supported the study.
Each subset was identified by its unique composition of cell surface proteins — like CD21, CD24, CD27, and CD38 — and all produce a type of antibody called IgG3.
When serum (blood) levels of IgG3 rose, so did the prevalence of these B-cell subsets.
High levels of IgG3 have long been associated with autoimmunity, particularly in MS. The team discovered a strong association between two particular subsets of IgG-positive B-cells — called CD21+CD24+CD27-CD38- and CD27+CD38-CD71- memory B‐cells — and the conversion between clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), which is a single occurrence (often the first) of neurological symptoms, and full MS.
Serum IgG3 levels and those of the IgG3-producing B-cells rose in CIS patients close to converting to MS.
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