B cells are key contributors to chronic autoimmune pathology in multiple sclerosis (MS). Clonally related B cells exist in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), meninges, and CNS parenchyma of MS patients. We sought to investigate the presence of clonally related B cells over time by performing Ig heavy chain variable region repertoire sequencing on B cells from longitudinally collected blood and CSF samples of MS patients (n = 10). All patients were untreated at the time of the initial sampling; the majority (n = 7) were treated with immune-modulating therapies 1.2 (±0.3 SD) years later during the second sampling. We found clonal persistence of B cells in the CSF of 5 patients; these B cells were frequently Ig class-switched and CD27+. Specific blood B cell subsets appear to provide input into CNS repertoires over time. We demonstrate complex patterns of clonal B cell persistence in CSF and blood, even in patients on immune-modulating therapy. Our findings support the concept that peripheral B cell activation and CNS-compartmentalized immune mechanisms can in part be therapy resistant.
Ariele L. Greenfield, Ravi Dandekar, Akshaya Ramesh, Erica L. Eggers, Hao Wu, Sarah Laurent, William Harkin, Natalie S. Pierson, Martin S. Weber, Roland G. Henry, Antje Bischof, Bruce A.C. Cree, Stephen L. Hauser, Michael R. Wilson, H.-Christian von Büdingen