B lymphocytes contribute to the pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by secreting antibodies and producing cytokines. This latter function was analyzed in myelin olygodendrocyte protein (MOG)-stimulated CD19+ B lymphocytes of 71 MS patients with different disease phenotypes and 40 age-and sex-matched healthy controls (HC). Results showed that: 1) CD19+/TNFα+, CD19+/IL-12+ and CD19+/IFNÎ 3+ lymphocytes are significantly increased in primary progressive (PP) compared to secondary progressive (SP), relapsing-remitting (RR), benign (BE) MS and HC; 2) CD19+/IL-6+ lymphocytes are significantly increased in PP, SP and RR compared to BEMS and HC; and 3) CD19+/IL-13+, CD19+/IL-10+, and CD19+/IL-10+/TGFβ+ (Bregs) B lymphocytes are reduced overall in MS patients compared to HC. B cells expressing BTLA, a receptor whose binding to HVEM inhibits TcR-initiated cytokine production, as well as CD19+/BTLA+/IL-10+ cells were also significantly overall reduced in MS patients compared to HC. Analyses performed in RRMS showed that fingolimod-induced disease remission is associated with a significant increase in Bregs, CD19+/BTLA+, and CD19+/BTLA+/IL-10+ B lymphocytes. B lymphocytes participate to the pathogenesis of MS via the secretion of functionally-diverse cytokines that might play a role in determining disease phenotypes. The impairment of Bregs and CD19+/BTLA+ cells, in particular, could play an important pathogenic role in MS.
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