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Researchers Discover "B" Cell Depletion Therapy Decreases RRMS Activity

October 27, 2015

Researchers have confirmed a type of “bad” white blood cell that is responsible for abnormal immune responses in patients with multiple sclerosis. Most know already that the “T” cells attack the myelin covering the CNS thus exposing them.

Now studies have shown that “B” cells, another type of white blood cell is also a significant contributor to disease activity. Recent clinical trials showed that B cell depletion therapy (BCDT) in RRMS patients has actually led to dramatic decreases in activity.

The aforementioned study by researchers of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University provides exclusive insight into the role of B-cells and their interaction with other immune cells in the context of MS.

"We've recently discovered that different types of human B cells exist. Some B cells have been shown to promote inflammation, while others are actually able to limit inflammation," said senior author Amit Bar-Or, from the Montreal Neurological Institute.

"Our study has implicated a subset of B cells, the GM-CSF producing B cells, as a key contributor in the pro-inflammatory immune cells responses at play in MS," said Bar-Or.

The study first examined samples of MS patients, comparing them to healthy subjects. Researchers discovered that the colony stimulating factor GM-CSF producing B cells were more frequent and more prone to activation in MS patients.

This subset of B cells activated pro-inflammatory responses of myeloid cells of the immune system.

Confirming these results in patients, the researchers found that after BCDT, the myeloid cells became much less pro-inflammatory, suggesting that BCDT may work in part by decreasing the number of GM-CSF-producing B cells and in turn limiting both myeloid cell and T cell contribution to new disease activity.