CD20+inflammatory T-cells are present in blood and brain of multiple sclerosis patients and can be selectively targeted for apoptotic elimination

Janet E. Holley, Edwin Bremer, Alexandra C. Kendall, Marco De Bruyn, Wijnand Helfrich, Joanna M. Tarr, Jia Newcombe, Nicholas J. Gutowski, Paul Eggleton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background A subset of T-cells expresses the B-cell marker CD20 and in rheumatoid arthritis secretes Interleukin (IL)-17. IL-17 secreting T-cells (Th17) have also been implicated in the inflammatory response in the central nervous system in multiple sclerosis (MS) and may be a potential target for elimination by biologic therapeutics. ScFvRit:sFasL comprises of a rituximab-derived antibody fragment scFvRit genetically fused to human soluble FasL that specifically eliminated T-cells. Objective To determine the presence and phenotype of CD20+T-cells in blood and brain of MS patients. Second, to determine whether scFvRit:sFasL can selectively eliminate CD20+T-cells. After CD20-selective binding, scFvRit:sFasL is designed to trigger FasL-mediated activation-induced cell death of T-cells, but not B-cells. Methods Flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry were used to screen for CD20+inflammatory T-cells in MS blood and brain tissue. ScFvRit:sFasL pro-apoptotic activity was evaluated by Annexin-V/PI staining followed by flow cytometry assessment. Results Peripheral blood (n=11) and chronic but not active lesions of MS patient brains (n=5) contained CD20+inflammatory T-cells. Activated CD20+T-cells were predominantly CD4+and secreted both IL-17 and INF-γ. ScFvRit:sFasL triggered CD20-restricted FasL-mediated activation-induced cell death in peripheral blood CD20+T-cells, but not CD20+B-cells. Conclusion CD20+inflammatory T-cells are present in blood and chronic brain lesions of MS patients. ScFvRit:sFasL selectively eliminated CD20+T-cells and may eliminate pathogenic T-cells without B-cell depletion. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)650-658
    Number of pages8
    JournalMultiple sclerosis and related disorders
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Biologics
    • Chronic lesions
    • Human tissue
    • Interleukin-17
    • T-cells


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