Objectives. High levels of soluble CD27 (sCD27), a marker of immune activation, are found in several infectious [including human immunodeficiency virus type-I (HIV-1)] and autoimmune diseases; however, a direct biological effect of sCD27 on B cells has not been established. The aim of this study was to investigate whether sCD27, by binding to CD70, can induce immunoglobulin G (IgG) production from B cells. Methods. B cells from healthy and HIV-1-infected individuals were cultured with recombinant human sCD27 (rhsCD27), and IgG production was measured. The role of rhsCD27 in inducing the expression of transcription factors involved in plasma cell differentiation was evaluated. Furthermore, we investigated the impact of different cytokines on the modulation of CD70 expression on B cells and the relationship between levels of IgG and sCD27 in serum from healthy and HIV-1-infected individuals. Results. We demonstrated that rhsCD27 induced IgG production from antigen-primed (CD27+) B cells. This effect was mediated by rhsCD27 binding to CD70 on B cells leading to activation of Blimp-1 and XBP-1, transcription factors associated with plasma cell differentiation. We found a significant correlation between levels of serum sCD27 and IgG in HIV-1-infected individuals and healthy controls. Conclusions. sCD27 may act to enhance immunoglobulin production and differentiation of activated memory or recently antigen-experienced B cells, thus providing an activation signal to antigen-experienced B cells. This mechanism may operate during autoimmune and chronic infectious diseases, situations in which continuous immune activation leads to upregulation of CD70 expression and increased sCD27 cleavage.

B cells, HIV-1, IgG production, SCD27
dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02444.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/65135
Journal of Internal Medicine
This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/201433 - Next Generation HIV-1 Immunogens inducing broadly reactive Neutralising antibodies (NGIN)
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Dang, R.L, Nilsson, A, Ingelman-Sundberg, H, Cagigi, A, Gelinck, L.B.S, Titanji, K, … Chiodi, F. (2012). Soluble CD27 induces IgG production through activation of antigen-primed B cells. Journal of Internal Medicine, 271(3), 282–293. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02444.x