Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who are treated with fingolimod have an increased proportion of transitional B cells in the circulation, but the underlying mechanism is not known. We hypothesized that B cell-activating factor of the tumor necrosis factor family (BAFF) is involved in the process. Compared with healthy controls and untreated MS patients, fingolimod-treated MS patients had significantly higher serum concentrations of BAFF, which positively correlated with the proportions and the absolute numbers of transitional B cells in blood. Despite the elevated concentrations of BAFF in fingolimod-treated MS patients, serum levels of soluble transmembrane activator and calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor, and B cell maturation antigen were not elevated. Our results show that fingolimod induces BAFF in the circulation and expands transitional B cells, but does not activate memory B cells or plasma cells in MS, which is favorable for the treatment of this disease.
Clinical Immunology – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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