Differential effects of FTY720 on the B cell compartment in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis

Kathrin Bail, Quirin Notz, Damiano M. Rovituso, Andrea Schampel, Marie Wunsch, Tobias Koeniger, Verena Schropp, Richa Bharti, Claus Juergen Scholz, Konrad U. Foerstner, Christoph Kleinschnitz, Stefanie Kuerten*

*Corresponding author for this work
11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: MP4-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), which enables targeted research on B cells, currently much discussed protagonists in MS pathogenesis. Here, we used this model to study the impact of the S1P1 receptor modulator FTY720 (fingolimod) on the autoreactive B cell and antibody response both in the periphery and the central nervous system (CNS). Methods: MP4-immunized mice were treated orally with FTY720 for 30 days at the peak of disease or 50 days after EAE onset. The subsequent disease course was monitored and the MP4-specific B cell/antibody response was measured by ELISPOT and ELISA. RNA sequencing was performed to determine any effects on B cell-relevant gene expression. S1P1 receptor expression by peripheral T and B cells, B cell subset distribution in the spleen and B cell infiltration into the CNS were studied by flow cytometry. The formation of B cell aggregates and of tertiary lymphoid organs (TLOs) was evaluated by histology and immunohistochemistry. Potential direct effects of FTY720 on B cell aggregation were studied in vitro. Results: FTY720 significantly attenuated clinical EAE when treatment was initiated at the peak of EAE. While there was a significant reduction in the number of T cells in the blood after FTY720 treatment, B cells were only slightly diminished. Yet, there was evidence for the modulation of B cell receptor-mediated signaling upon FTY720 treatment. In addition, we detected a significant increase in the percentage of B220+ B cells in the spleen both in acute and chronic EAE. Whereas acute treatment completely abrogated B cell aggregate formation in the CNS, the numbers of infiltrating B cells and plasma cells were comparable between vehicle- and FTY720-treated mice. In addition, there was no effect on already developed aggregates in chronic EAE. In vitro B cell aggregation assays suggested the absence of a direct effect of FTY720 on B cell aggregation. However, FTY720 impacted the evolution of B cell aggregates into TLOs. Conclusions: The data suggest differential effects of FTY720 on the B cell compartment in MP4-induced EAE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24.07.2017

Research Areas and Centers

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


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