B cell and/or autoantibody deficiency do not prevent neuropsychiatric disease in murine systemic lupus erythematosus

Jing Wen, Jessica Doerner, Samantha Chalmers, Ariel Stock, Haowei Wang, Maria Gullinello, Mark J. Shlomchik, Chaim Putterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neuropsychiatric lupus (NPSLE) can be one of the earliest clinical manifestations in human lupus. However, its mechanisms are not fully understood. In lupus, a compromised blood-brain barrier may allow for the passage of circulating autoantibodies into the brain, where they can induce neuropsychiatric abnormalities including depression-like behavior and cognitive abnormalities. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of B cells and/or autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of murine NPSLE. Methods: We evaluated neuropsychiatric manifestations, brain pathology, and cytokine expression in constitutively (JhD/MRL/lpr) and conditionally (hCD20-DTA/MRL/lpr, inducible by tamoxifen) B cell-depleted mice as compared to MRL/lpr lupus mice. Results: We found that autoantibody levels were negligible (JhD/MRL/lpr) or significantly reduced (hCD20-DTA/MRL/lpr) in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid, respectively. Nevertheless, both JhD/MRL/lpr and hCD20-DTA/MRL/lpr mice showed profound depression-like behavior, which was no different from MRL/lpr mice. Cognitive deficits were also observed in both JhD/MRL/lpr and hCD20-DTA/MRL/lpr mice, similar to those exhibited by MRL/lpr mice. Furthermore, although some differences were dependent on the timing of depletion, central features of NPSLE in the MRL/lpr strain including increased blood-brain barrier permeability, brain cell apoptosis, and upregulated cytokine expression persisted in B cell-deficient and B cell-depleted mice. Conclusions: Our study surprisingly found that B cells and/or autoantibodies are not required for key features of neuropsychiatric disease in murine NPSLE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number73
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoantibodies
  • B cells
  • Lupus
  • Neuropsychiatric SLE
  • SLE

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology


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