This study investigated the effect of CD20-positive B-cell depletion on central nervous system (CNS) white and gray matter pathology in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in common marmosets, a relevant preclinical model of multiple sclerosis. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis was induced in 14 marmosets by immunization with recombinant human myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein in complete Freund adjuvant. At 21 days after immunization, B-cell depletion was achieved by weekly intravenous injections of HuMab 7D8, a human-anti-human CD20 antibody that cross-reacts with marmoset CD20. In vivo magnetic resonance imaging showed widespread brain white matter demyelination in control marmosets that was absent in CD20 antibody-treated marmosets. High-contrast postmortem magnetic resonance imaging showed white matter lesions in 4of the 7 antibody-treated marmosets, but these were significantly smaller than those in controls. The same technique revealed gray matter lesions in 5 control marmosets, but none in antibody-treated marmosets. Histologic analysis confirmed that inflammation, demyelination, and axonal damage were substantially reduced in brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves of CD20 antibody-treated marmosets. In conclusion, CD20-postive B-cell depletion by HuMab 7D8 profoundly reduced the development of both white and gray matter lesions in the marmoset CNS. These data underline the central role of B cells in CNS inflammatory-demyelinating disease.

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Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kap, Y., Bauer, J., Driel, N. V., Bleeker, W., Parren, P., Kooi, E.-J., … 't Hart, B. (2011). B-cell depletion attenuates white and gray matter pathology in marmoset experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 70(11), 992–1005. doi:10.1097/NEN.0b013e318234d421