Imbalance favouring follicular helper T cells over IL10+ regulatory B cells is detrimental for the renal allograft
Alberto Utrero-Rico1, Rocio Laguna-Goya1,2, Esther Gonzalez3, Amado Andrés3, Natalia Polanco3, Esther Mancebo-Sierra1,2, Patricia Almendro1, Elena Gómez-Massa1,2, Francisco Cano-Romero1, Estela Paz-Artal1,2.
1Immunodeficiencies and Transplant Immunology group, imas12, Madrid, Spain; 2Immunology, Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain; 3Nephrology, Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain
Background: A highfrequency of regulatory B (Breg) cells, generally transitional B cells (Btrans), has been associated with long-term kidney allograft survival and operational tolerance, while circulating follicular helper T cells (cTfh) correlate with graft rejection. We aimed to understand the interplay between these cell subsets and to determine their association with renal graft outcome.
Methods: Btrans (CD19+CD24+CD38+) and IL10+Breg cells (CD19+CD24highCD38high cells producing IL10 after CpG+CD40L ex vivo stimulation), as well as cTfh (CD4+CXCR5+T cells) have been analysed, pre- and post-transplantation, in a prospective cohort of 200 kidney transplant recipients and in healthy volunteers (HV).
Results: End-stage renal disease patients had higher frequencies of Btrans and IL10+Breg cells compared to HV(20% vs 10% and 1.5% vs 0.8%, p<0.001 and p<0.01, respectively). Pre-transplantation frequencies of Btrans and IL10+Breg cells were significantly higher in patients later rejecting than in patients remaining stable (26% vs 20%, p<0.05, and 2.3% vs 1.5%, p<0.01, respectively).In the multivariate analysis, pre-transplantation %IL10+ Breg above the median predicted rejection and graft failure independently from age, de novoanti-HLA antibodies and delayed graft function (HR=3.98 and 13.46 respectively, both p=0.02). IL10+Bregdecreased during the 1-year post-transplant follow-up, and a larger pre- to 7 days post-transplant reduction of %IL10+ Breg was also an independent predictor of rejection and graft failure (HR=3.63 and 5.86). Finally, IL10+ Breg correlated with cTfh pre-transplantation (r=0.28, p<0.01). The cTfh/IL10+Breg ratio increased after transplantation, and this augmentation preceded and was significantly higher in rejectors vs stable recipients (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Evaluation of pre-transplant IL10+Breg cells and the regular monitoring of the cTfh/IL10+ Breg ratio may be useful to assess post-transplant risk. Additionally, these observations suggest the need to develop therapeutic strategies aimed at depleting Tfh while preserving regulatory B cells in transplanted patients.
ISCIII project 45/2013 and SMT 2017/082.
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