Increased responsiveness of rheumatoid factor-producing B cells in seronegative and seropositive rheumatoid arthritis

Xiaowen He, Wanyun Zhong, Timothy G. McCarthy, Cornelia M. Weyand, Jörg J. Goronzy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective. To compare the frequencies and responsiveness of rheumatoid factor (RF)-producing B cells in the peripheral blood of patients with seronegative and seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods. Frequencies of IgM+, IgG+, and RF+ B cells were determined by limiting-dilution analysis of purified peripheral blood B cells from 6 patients with seropositive RA, 8 patients with seronegative RA, and 7 normal controls. B cell help was provided by cloned T helper cells, which were stimulated by either anti-CD3 or the bacterial superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin D (SED). IgM and IgG antibodies and RF in culture supernatants were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results. In the presence of anti-CD3-stimulated T helper cells, 2-10% of B cells from normal individuals secreted IgM and IgG antibodies. The frequency of RF+ B cells was low and ranged from 1:182 to 1:885 (RF+: IgM+) B cells. In patients with seropositive RA, the numbers of Ig-producing B cells were reduced by a factor of 2, while the fraction of RF+ B cell precursors was expanded by more than 50-fold (7-20% of IgM+ B cells; P = 0.004). Patients with seronegative RA had higher frequencies of RF- producing B cells (1.5-6% of IgM+ B cells) than normal individuals (P = 0.002), but not to the same extent as seropositive patients (P = 0.002). Stimulation of B cells using SED preferentially induced RF+ B cells in normal controls and in patients with seronegative and seropositive RA. Conclusion. B cell precursors with the potential to secrete RF were detectable in high frequencies in normal individuals and in patients with seropositive and seronegative RA. In all donors, these B cells could be stimulated with the bacterial superantigen SED. In normal individuals, RF+ B cells remained nonresponsive to help provided by anti-CD3-activated T cells, but were responsive in RA patients. Seronegative and seropositive RA form a continuous spectrum of disease, with a higher number of RF-secreting B cells in the seropositive patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1499-1506
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis and rheumatism
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Increased responsiveness of rheumatoid factor-producing B cells in seronegative and seropositive rheumatoid arthritis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this