Increased frequency of pre-germinal center b cells and plasma cell precursors in the blood of children with systemic lupus erythematosus
Hematopoietic Stem Cells
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic
We have analyzed the blood B cell subpopulations of children with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and healthy controls. We found that the normal recirculating mature B cell pool is composed of four subsets: conventional naive and memory B cells, a novel B cell subset with pregerminal center phenotype (IgD(+)CD38(+)centerin(+)), and a plasma cell precursor subset (CD20(-)CD19(+/low)CD27(+/++) CD38(++)). In SLE patients, naive and memory B cells (CD20(+)CD38(-)) are approximately 90% reduced, whereas oligoclonal plasma cell precursors are 3-fold expanded, independently of disease activity and modality of therapy. Pregerminal center cells in SLE are decreased to a lesser extent than conventional B cells, and therefore represent the predominant blood B cell subset in a number of patients. Thus, SLE is associated with major blood B cell subset alterations.