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      The chemokine CXCL13 is a key regulator of B cell recruitment to the cerebrospinal fluid in acute Lyme neuroborreliosis

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          The chemokine CXCL13 is known to dictate homing and motility of B cells in lymphoid tissue and has been implicated in the formation of ectopic lymphoid tissue in chronic inflammation. Whether it influences B cell trafficking during acute infection, is largely unclear. In previous studies, we showed that (I) CXCL13 levels are markedly increased in the B cell-rich cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with acute Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB), and (II) CXCL13 is released by monocytes upon recognition of borrelial outer surface proteins by Toll-like receptor 2. Here, we assessed the role of CXCL13 - in comparison to other chemokines - in the recruitment of B cells to the CSF of patients with acute LNB.


          Measurement of chemokines was done by ELISA. B cells were isolated from whole blood using magnetic cell separation (MACS). For migration experiments, a modified Boyden chamber assay was used and the migrated B cells were further analysed by FACS. The migration was inhibited either by preincubation of the CSF samples with neutralizing antibodies, heating to 60°C, removal of proteins >3 kDa, or by pre-treatment of the B cells with pertussis toxin. The principal statistical tests used were one-way analysis of variance and Bonferroni test (chemokine measurements) as well as paired Student's t-test (migration experiments).


          Measurements of chemokine levels revealed an increase in three of the four known major B cell chemoattractants CXCL13, CCL19 and CXCL12 in LNB CSF. The CXCL13 CSF:serum ratio, as a measure of the chemotactic gradient, was substantially higher than that of CCL19 and CXCL12. Moreover, the chemotactic activity of LNB CSF was reduced up to 56% after preincubation with a neutralizing CXCL13 antibody, while combined preincubation with antibodies against CXCL13, CCL19, and CXCL12 did not lead to further reduction. Since treatment with pertussis toxin, heating to 60°C, and removal of proteins >3 kDa abrogated the chemotactic activity, further not yet identified chemokines seem to be involved in B cell recruitment to LNB CSF.


          Combined, our study suggests a key role of CXCL13 in B cell migration to sites of infection as shown here for the CSF of LNB patients.

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          Most cited references 37

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          A chemokine-driven positive feedback loop organizes lymphoid follicles.

          Lymphoid follicles are B-cell-rich compartments of lymphoid organs that function as sites of B-cell antigen encounter and differentiation. CXC chemokine receptor-5 (CXCR5) is required for B-cell migration to splenic follicles, but the requirements for homing to B-cell areas in lymph nodes remain to be defined. Here we show that lymph nodes contain two types of B-cell-rich compartment: follicles containing follicular dendritic cells, and areas lacking such cells. Using gene-targeted mice, we establish that B-lymphocyte chemoattractant (BLC/BCA1) and its receptor, CXCR5, are needed for B-cell homing to follicles in lymph nodes as well as in spleen. We also find that BLC is required for the development of most lymph nodes and Peyer's patches. In addition to mediating chemoattraction, BLC induces B cells to up-regulate membrane lymphotoxin alpha1beta2, a cytokine that promotes follicular dendritic cell development and BLC expression, establishing a positive feedback loop that is likely to be important in follicle development and homeostasis. In germinal centres the feedback loop is overridden, with B-cell lymphotoxin alpha1beta2 expression being induced by a mechanism independent of BLC.
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            Human Immunoglobulin (Ig)M+IgD+ Peripheral Blood B Cells Expressing the CD27 Cell Surface Antigen Carry Somatically Mutated Variable Region Genes: CD27 as a General Marker for Somatically Mutated (Memory) B Cells

            Immunoglobulin (Ig)M+IgD+ B cells are generally assumed to represent antigen-inexperienced, naive B cells expressing variable (V) region genes without somatic mutations. We report here that human IgM+IgD+ peripheral blood (PB) B cells expressing the CD27 cell surface antigen carry mutated V genes, in contrast to CD27-negative IgM+IgD+ B cells. IgM+IgD+CD27+ B cells resemble class-switched and IgM-only memory cells in terms of cell phenotype, and comprise ∼15% of PB B lymphocytes in healthy adults. Moreover, a very small population (<1% of PB B cells) of highly mutated IgD-only B cells was detected, which likely represent the PB counterpart of IgD-only tonsillar germinal center and plasma cells. Overall, the B cell pool in the PB of adults consists of ∼40% mutated memory B cells and 60% unmutated, naive IgD+CD27− B cells (including CD5+ B cells). In the somatically mutated B cells, VH region genes carry a two- to threefold higher load of somatic mutation than rearranged Vκ genes. This might be due to an intrinsically lower mutation rate in κ light chain genes compared with heavy chain genes and/or result from κ light chain gene rearrangements in GC B cells. A common feature of the somatically mutated B cell subsets is the expression of the CD27 cell surface antigen which therefore may represent a general marker for memory B cells in humans.
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              B Cell–attracting Chemokine 1, a Human CXC Chemokine Expressed in Lymphoid Tissues, Selectively Attracts B Lymphocytes via BLR1/CXCR5

              Although most leukocytes, T lymphocytes in particular, respond to several different chemokines, there is virtually no information on chemokine activities and chemokine receptors in B lymphocytes. A putative chemokine receptor, BLR1, that is expressed in Burkitt's lymphoma cells and B lymphocytes was cloned a few years ago. Deletion of the gene for BLR1 yielded mice with abnormal primary follicles and germinal centers of the spleen and Peyer's patches, reflecting the inability of B lymphocytes to migrate into B cell areas. By screening expressed sequence tag DNA sequences, we have identified a CXC chemokine, termed B cell–attracting chemokine 1 (BCA-1), that is chemotactic for human B lymphocytes. BCA-1 cDNA encodes a protein of 109 amino acids with a leader sequence of 22 residues. The mature protein shares 23–34% identical amino acids with known CXC chemokines and is constitutively expressed in secondary lymphoid organs. BCA-1 was chemically synthesized and tested for activity on murine pre–B cells 300-19 transfected with BLR1 and on human blood B lymphocytes. In transfected cells, BCA-1 induced chemotaxis and Ca2+ mobilization demonstrating that it acts via BLR1. Under the same conditions, no activity was obtained with 10 CXC and 19 CC chemokines, lymphotactin, neurotactin/fractalkine and several other peptide ligands. BCA-1 was also a highly effective attractant for human blood B lymphocytes (which express BLR1), but was inactive on freshly isolated or IL-2–stimulated T lymphocytes, monocytes, and neutrophils. In agreement with the nomenclature rules for chemokine receptors, we propose the term CXCR5 for BLR1. Together with the observed disturbance of B cell colonization in BLR1/ CXCR5-deficient mice, the present results indicate that chemotactic recruitment by locally produced BCA-1 is important for the development of B cell areas of secondary lymphoid tissues.

                Author and article information

                J Neuroinflammation
                Journal of Neuroinflammation
                BioMed Central
                30 December 2009
                : 6
                : 42
                [1 ]Department of Neurology, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377 Munich, Germany
                [2 ]Department of Clinical Chemistry, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377 Munich, Germany
                Copyright ©2009 Rupprecht et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.




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