Depletion of CD20+B cells has been related to reduced clinical activity in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The underlying mechanism is not understood, because serum IgG levels were unaltered by the treatment. We report the effect of late B cell depletion on cellular and humoral immune mechanisms in a preclinical multiple sclerosis model (i.e., experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis [EAE] in the common marmoset). We used a novel human anti-human CD20 IgG1κ mAb (HuMab 7D8) that cross-reacts with marmoset CD20. EAE was induced in 14 marmosets by immunization with recombinant human myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) in CFA. After 21 d, B cells were depleted in seven monkeys by HuMab 7D8, and seven control monkeys received PBS. The Ab induced profound and long-lasting B cell depletion from PBMCs and lymphoid organs throughout the observation period of 106 d. Whereas all of the control monkeys developed clinically evident EAE, overt neurologic deficits were reduced substantially in three HuMab 7D8-treated monkeys, and four HuMab 7D8-treated monkeys remained completely asymptomatic. The effect of HuMab 7D8 was confirmed on magnetic resonance images, detecting only small lesions in HuMab 7D8-treated monkeys. The infusion of HuMab 7D8 arrested the progressive increase of anti-MOG IgG Abs. Although CD3+T cell numbers in lymphoid organs were increased, their proliferation and cytokine production were impaired significantly. Most notable were the substantially reduced mRNA levels of IL-7 and proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-17A, IFN-γ, and TNF-α). In conclusion, B cell depletion prevents the development of clinical and pathological signs of EAE, which is associated with impaired activation of MOG-reactive T cells in lymphoid organs. Copyright

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Kap, Y.S., van Driel, N., Blezer, E., Parren, P.W.H.I., Bleeker, W.K., Laman, J.D., … 't Hart, B.A.. (2010). Late B cell depletion with a human anti-human CD20 IgG1κ monoclonal antibody halts the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in marmosets. Journal of Immunology, 185(7), 3990–4003. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1001393