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.
- B cells
- Neuropsychiatric SLE
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience