Publication

Mycophenolic acid and 6-mercaptopurine both inhibit B-cell proliferation in granulomatosis with polyangiitis patients, whereas only mycophenolic acid inhibits B-cell IL-6 production

von Borstel, A., Abdulahad, W. H., Dekkema, G., Rutgers, A., Stegeman, C. A., Veldman, J., Heeringa, P. & Sanders, J. S., 9-Jul-2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 7, 12 p., e0235743.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) is an autoimmune disease affecting mainly small blood vessels. B-cells are important in the GPA pathogenesis as precursors of autoantibody-producing cells but likely also contribute (auto)antibody-independently. This has been underlined by the effectiveness of B-cell-depletion (with Rituximab) in inducing and maintaining disease remission. Mycophenolate-mofetil (MMF) and azathioprine (AZA) are immunosuppressive therapies frequently used in GPA-patients. Interestingly, MMF-treated GPA-patients are more prone to relapses than AZA-treated patients, while little is known about the influence of these drugs on B-cells. We investigated whether MMF or AZA treatment (or their active compounds) alters the circulating B-cell subset distribution and has differential effects on in vitro B-cell proliferation and cytokine production in GPA-patients that might underlie the different relapse rate. Circulating B-cell subset frequencies were determined in samples from AZA-treated (n = 13), MMF-treated (n = 12), untreated GPA-patients (n = 19) and matched HCs (n = 41). To determine the ex vivo effects of the active compounds of MMF and AZA, MPA and 6-MP respectively, on B-cell proliferation and cytokine production, PBMCs of untreated GPA-patients (n = 29) and matched HCs (n = 30) were cultured for 3-days in the presence of CpG-oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG) with MPA or 6-MP. After restimulation (with phorbol myristate acetate, calcium-ionophore), cytokine-positive B-cell frequencies were measured. Finally, to assess the effect of MMF or AZA treatment on in vitro B-cell proliferation and cytokine production, PBMCs of MMF-treated (n = 18), and AZA-treated patients (n = 28) and HCs (n = 41) were cultured with CpG. The memory B-cell frequency was increased in AZA- compared to MMF-treated patients, while no other subset was different. The active compounds of MMF and AZA showed in vitro that MPA decreased B-cell proliferation in GPA-patients and HCs. B-cell proliferation in MMF- and AZA-treated patients was not different. Finally, the IL-6+ B-cell frequency was decreased by MPA compared to 6-MP. No differences in IL-10+, IL-6+ or TNFα+ B-cell proportions or proliferation were found in MMF- and AZA-treated patients. Our results indicate that MMF could be superior to AZA in inhibiting B-cell cytokine production in GPA-patients. Future studies should assess the effects of these immunosuppressive drugs on other immune cells to elucidate mechanisms underlying the potential differences in relapse rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0235743
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9-Jul-2020

    Keywords

  • RITUXIMAB, CYCLOPHOSPHAMIDE, AUTOANTIBODIES, AZATHIOPRINE, VASCULITIS

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 129387633