Lymphocytes B mémoire dans la réponse humorale anti-­HLA en transplantation d'organe

Abstract : Anti-HLA antibodies are directed against various epitopes of HLA molecules. They develop during organ transplantations, red cell transfusions or pregnancies. But anti-HLA antibodies are also detected with sensitive assays in the absence of any sensitizing event. In renal transplantation, anti-HLA antibodies, through the development of antibody-mediated rejection, represent the first cause of late allograft loss. Nevertheless, the mechanisms and the exact nature of B cells involved in anti-HLA antibodies synthesis are poorly understood.In a first part, we studied by flow cytometry in patients awaiting kidney transplantation the distribution of the different peripheral B cell subsets in relation with immunizing events, titer and diversity of anti-HLA antibodies. We also studied the serum levels of BAFF ("B cell activating factor belonging to the TNF family"), the main factor involved in survival and differentiation of mature B cells. We found an association between the presence and the diversity of anti-HLA antibodies, and the proportion of activated naive Bm2 B cells, at the expense of other subsets, independently of immunizing events. BAFF serum levels were also positively associated with the presence and the diversity of anti-HLA antibodies. These data suggest that the increase in activated naive B cells and in BAFF levels facilitate the development of anti-HLA antibodies, following an immunizing event. Similarly to what is observed in autoimmunity, BAFF could help to the positive selection of alloreactive B cell clones, in the presence of alloantigen.In a second part, we focused on the role of circulating alloreactive memory B cells in anti-HLA humoral response. To detect those alloreactive memory B cells, we used a polyclonal stimulation assay allowing the differentiation of memory B cells into plasmablasts and we studied the specificity of anti-HLA antibodies recovered from culture supernatant. A first important result was the detection, decades after an imunizing event, of specific alloreactive memory B cells, even in the absence of the antigen. The detection of those circulating alloreactive memory B cells was related to the strength of immunizing events, i.e. the number of different immunizing events in the history of patients. Indeed, patients with anti-HLA antibodies with no history of immunizing event had no circulating alloreactive memory B cells. Eventually, with HLAMatchmaker software, we showed that antibodies produced by memory B cells were directed against a limited number of epitopes shared by HLA antigens, which suggests an oligoclonality of the alloreactive memory B cell population. By comparison, serum antibodies displayed a greater diversity, with multiple epitopic specificities. These results suggest two distinct cellular arms of humoral response towards HLA epitopes: medullar plasma cells, involved in long term HLA antibodies synthesis, and memory B cells waiting for a recall response in the presence of the antigen. The factors involved in the choice of those two cellular fates are poorly understood but may involve dose and route of exposition to the alloantigen.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 12:05:51 PM
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Renaud Snanoudj. Lymphocytes B mémoire dans la réponse humorale anti-­HLA en transplantation d'organe. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université René Descartes - Paris V, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013PA05T039⟩. ⟨tel-00919770⟩

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