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Exploiting CD22 To Selectively Tolerize Autoantibody Producing B‑Cells in Rheumatoid Arthritis

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journal contribution
posted on 05.03.2019, 00:00 by Kyle J. Bednar, Corwin M. Nycholat, Tadimeti S. Rao, James C. Paulson, Wai-Ping Fung-Leung, Matthew S. Macauley
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the synovial joints and can lead to bone erosion and cartilage damage. One hallmark of RA is anticitrullinated protein autoantibodies (ACPA) and memory citrulline-specific B-cells, which have been implicated in RA pathogenesis. While depletion of B-cells with Rituximab improves clinical responses in RA patients, this treatment strategy leaves patients susceptible to infections. Here we use of Siglec-engaging Tolerance-inducing Antigenic Liposomes (STALs) to selectively target the citrulline-specific B-cells. ACPA production from purified human RA patients’ B-cells in vitro was achieved through a set of stimulation conditions, which includes the following: BAFF, anti-CD40, IL-21, and LPS. In vivo generation of citrulline specific B-cells and ACPA production was accomplished by antigenic liposomes consisting of monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) and a cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) administered to SJL/J mice. We show that STALs that codisplay a high affinity CD22 glycan ligand and synthetic citrullinated antigen (CCP STALs) can prevent ACPA production from RA patients’ memory B-cells in vitro. These CCP STALs were also effective in inducing tolerance to citrullinated antigens in SJL/J mice. The results demonstrate that tolerization of the B-cells responsible for ACPA can be achieved by exploiting the inhibitory receptor CD22 with high-affinity glycan ligands. Such a treatment strategy could be beneficial in the treatment of RA.