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Keywords:

  • allo-HLA IgG;
  • B memory cells;
  • HLA-reactivity;
  • immunosuppression;
  • intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg)

Summary

B memory cells remain in circulation and secrete alloantibodies without antigen exposure > 20 years after alloimmunization postpartum or by transplantation. These long-lived B cells are resistant to cytostatic drugs. Therapeutically, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is administered to reduce allo-human leucocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies pre- and post-transplantation, but the mechanism of reduction remains unclear. Recently, we reported that IVIg reacts with several HLA-I alleles and the HLA reactivity of IVIg is lost after its HLA-E reactivity is adsorbed out. Therefore, we have generated an anti-HLA-E monoclonal antibody that mimics the HLA-reactivity of IVIg to investigate whether this antibody suppresses IgG secretion, as does IVIg. B cells were purified from the blood of a woman in whose blood the B memory cells remained without antigen exposure > 20 years after postpartum alloimmunization. The B cells were stimulated with cytokines using a well-defined culture system. The anti-HLA-E monoclonal antibody (mAb) significantly suppressed the allo-HLA class-II IgG produced by the B cells, and that this suppression was far superior to that by IVIg. These findings were confirmed with HLA-I antibody secreted by the immortalized B cell line, developed from the blood of another alloimmunized woman. The binding affinity of the anti-HLA-E mAb for peptide sequences shared (i.e. shared epitopes) between HLA-E and other β2-microglobulin-free HLA heavy chains (open conformers) on the cell surface of B cells may act as a ligand and signal suppression of IgG production of activated B memory cells. We propose that anti-HLA-E monoclonal antibody may also be useful to suppress allo-HLA IgG production in vivo.