Aim:A number of evidence shows that the differentiation of B lymphocytes into plasma cells plays an important role in lupus pathogenesis. In this study we investigated how prednisone, a classical therapeutic drug for autoimmune diseases, regulated plasma cell differentiation in MRL/MpSlac-lpr mice.Methods:MRL/lpr mice were treated with prednisone (2.5 or 5 mg·kg -1 ·d -1, ig) for 13 weeks, and the proteinuria levels and survival times were monitored. After the mice were euthanized, blood sample, spleen and thymus were collected. The serum levels of anti-dsDNA antibody, anti-nuclear antibody, IL-21, and IL-10 were detected using ELISA kits. Subsets of splenic B and T lymphocytes were quantified with flow cytometry. Transcription factor Blimp-1 and Bcl-6 expression was determined using qPCR and Western blot.Results:Prednisone treatment dose-dependently attenuated the lupus symptoms in MRL/lpr mice with decreased proteinuria levels, prolonged survival times, decreased serum anti-nuclear antibody levels, and reduced spleen and thymus indices. Prednisone treatment also significantly decreased the elevated percentages of plasma cells and plasma cell precursors, decreased the percentages of activated T cells, and increased the frequency of CD4 + CD62L + cells, demonstrated that decreased anti-nuclear antibodies and improvements in lupus symptoms were associated with decreased plasma cells. Furthermore, prednisone treatment decreased serum IL-21 and IL-10 levels and reduced the expression of splenic Blimp-1 and Bcl-6 (two key regulatory factors for plasma cell differentiation) in MRL/lpr mice.Conclusion:Prednisone treatment restricts B lymphocyte differentiation into plasma cells in MRL/lpr mice, which may be correlated with the inhibition of IL-21 production and the restoration of the balance between Blimp-1 and Bcl-6.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)