Both T and B cells are indispensable for the development of a PBMC transfer-induced humanized mouse model for SSc

Yaqing Shu, Xiaoyang Yue, Jacqueline Wax, Brigitte Kasper, Junping Yin, Xiaoqing Wang, Liang Zhang, Marjan Ahmadi, Harald Heidecke, Antje Müller, Peter Lamprecht, Xinhua Yu, Gabriela Riemekasten*, Frank Petersen*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Recently, a novel humanized mouse model for systemic sclerosis (SSc) was established by transferring peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with SSc to Rag2−/−Il2rg−/− immunodeficient mice. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of T and B cells in this humanized mouse model. Methods: T and B cells were depleted in vitro from freshly isolated PBMC using anti-CD3 and anti-CD19 magnetic microbeads, respectively. Subsequently, PBMC and T or B cell-depleted PBMC were transferred into Rag2−/−/Il2rg−/− mice via intraperitoneal injection. Twelve weeks after the transfer, mice were sacrificed and evaluated. Results: Mice transferred with whole PBMC from SSc patients developed systemic inflammation in the lungs, kidneys, and liver, and 6 out of 11 mice died or had to be sacrificed during the experiment. By contrast, such inflammation and death were not observed in mice transferred with corresponding T or B cell-depleted PBMC. In line with this finding, transfer with whole PBMC restored the splenic white pulp composing of human T, B, and plasma cells and led to the production of a considerable amount of human autoantibodies in recipient mice, while those immunological features were rarely observed in mice that received T or B cell-depleted PBMC. In contrast to our previous findings demonstrating a transfer of the protective effect of a B cell therapy into the mouse, treatment of SSc patients with chemical immunosuppressive drugs did not affect the pathogenicity of PBMC. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that both T and B cells are indispensable for the pathogenesis of the PBMC transfer-induced mouse model for SSc.

Original languageEnglish
Article number209
JournalArthritis Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12.2022

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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