Virally infected B cells present antigens in Primates

Haanstra KG, Wubben JA, Jonker M, Hart BA. Induction of Encephalitis in Rhesus Monkeys Infused with Lymphocryptovirus-Infected B-Cells Presenting MOG34-56 Peptide. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 15;8(8):e71549. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071549.

The overlapping epidemiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the increased risk to develop MS after infectious mononucleosis (IM) and the localization of EBV-infected B-cells within the MS brain suggest a causal link between EBV and MS. However, the underlying mechanism is unknown. We hypothesize that EBV-infected B-cells are capable of eliciting a central nervous system (CNS) targeting autoimmune reaction. To test this hypothesis we have developed a novel experimental model in rhesus monkeys of IM-like disease induced by infusing autologous B-lymphoblastoid cells (B-LCL). Herpesvirus papio (HVP) is a lymphocryptovirus related to EBV and was used to generate rhesus monkey B-LCL. Three groups of five animals were included; each group received three intravenous infusions of B-LCL that were either pulsed with the encephalitogenic self peptide MOG34-56 (group A), a mimicry peptide (981-1003) of the major capsid protein of cytomegalovirus (CMVmcp981-1003; group B) or the citrullinated MOG34-56 (cMOG34-56; group C). Groups A and B received on day 98 a single immunization with MOG34-56 in incomplete Freund’s adjuvant (IFA). Group C monkeys were euthanized just prior to day 98 without booster immunization. We observed self-peptide-specific proliferation of T-cells, superimposed on similar strong proliferation of CD3(+)CD8(+) T-cells against the B-LCL as observed in IM. The brains of several monkeys contained perivascular inflammatory lesions of variable size, comprising CD3(+) and CD68(+) cells. Moreover, clusters of CD3(+) and CD20(+) cells were detected in the meninges. The only evident clinical sign was substantial loss of bodyweight (>15%), a symptom observed both in early autoimmune encephalitis and IM. In conclusion, this model suggests that EBV-induced B-LCL can elicit a CNS targeting inflammatory (auto)immune reaction.

So B cells can act as antigen-presenting cells.

There is a colony of Japanese Monkeys in the US that have a EBV-like virus and get demyelinating disease.

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  • The Netherlands obviously use primates to mimic MS in humans. Do you still feel these studies are not reliable and should not be performed? how else would an EBV model (in this case LCV) be tested?

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