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+/lowCD27+/++CD38++). In SLE patients, naive and memory B cells (CD20+CD38-) are ∼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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy