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Immunology - Physiology - Rheumatology

IL-15 Expression on RA Synovial Fibroblasts Promotes B Cell Survival
Published: Monday, July 09, 2012
Author: Marta Benito-Miguel et al.

by Marta Benito-Miguel, Yolanda García-Carmona, Alejandro Balsa, María-Belén Bautista-Caro, Irene Arroyo-Villa, Tatiana Cobo-Ibáñez, María Gema Bonilla-Hernán, Carlos Pérez de Ayala, Paloma Sánchez-Mateos, Emilio Martín-Mola, María-Eugenia Miranda-Carús


The purpose of this study was to examine the role of RA Synovial Fibroblast (RASFib) IL-15 expression on B cell survival.


Magnetically sorted peripheral blood memory B cells from 15 healthy subjects were cocultured with RASFib.


RASFib constitutively expressed membrane IL-15. Survival of isolated B cells cultured for 6 days, below 5%, was extended in coculture with RASFib to 52+/-8% (p<0.001). IL-15 neutralizing agents but not isotype controls, reduced this rate to 31+/-6% (p<0.05). Interestingly, rhIL-15 had no effect on isolated B cells but significantly increased their survival in coculture with RASFib. In parallel, B cell IL-15R chains were upregulated in cocultures. BAFF and VCAM-1, that are expressed on RASFib, were tested as potential candidates involved in upregulating B cell IL-15R. Culture of B cells in the presence of rhBAFF or rhVCAM-1 resulted in significantly increased survival, together with upregulation of all three IL-15R chains; in parallel, rhIL-15 potentiated the anti-apoptotic effect of BAFF and VCAM-1. Both BAFF and VCAM-1 neutralizing agents downmodulated the effect of RASFib on B cell survival and IL-15R expression. In parallel, rhIL-15 had a lower effect on the survival of B cells cocultured with RASFib in the presence of BAFF or VCAM-1 neutralizing agents. Peripheral blood B cells from 15 early RA patients demonstrated an upregulated IL-15R and increased survival in cocultures.


IL-15 expression on RASFib significantly contributes to the anti-apoptotic effect of RASFib on B cells. IL-15 action is facilitated by BAFF and VCAM-1 expressed on RASFib, through an upregulation of IL-15R chains.