B cell depletion modulates glial responses and enhances blood vessel integrity in a model of multiple sclerosis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Neurobiology of disease






Astrocyte; B cells; Blood-brain barrier; EAE; Microglia; Multiple sclerosis; Myelin


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by a compromised blood-brain barrier (BBB) resulting in central nervous system (CNS) entry of peripheral lymphocytes, including T cells and B cells. While T cells have largely been considered the main contributors to neuroinflammation in MS, the success of B cell depletion therapies suggests an important role for B cells in MS pathology. Glial cells in the CNS are essential components in both disease progression and recovery, raising the possibility that they represent targets for B cell functions. Here, we examine astrocyte and microglia responses to B cell depleting treatments in an animal model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). B cell depleted EAE animals had markedly reduced disease severity and myelin damage accompanied by reduced microglia and astrocyte reactivity 20 days after symptom onset. To identify potential initial mechanisms mediating functional changes following B cell depletion, astrocyte and microglia transcriptomes were analyzed 3 days following B cell depletion. In control EAE animals, transcriptomic analysis revealed astrocytic inflammatory pathways were activated and microglial influence on neuronal function were inhibited. Following B cell depletion, initial functional recovery was associated with an activation of astrocytic pathways linked with restoration of neurovascular integrity and of microglial pathways associated with neuronal function. These studies reveal an important role for B cell depletion in influencing glial function and CNS vasculature in an animal model of MS.


Anatomy and Regenerative Biology