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Papers of the Week

2021 Dec 07

Eur J Pharmacol

The immunomodulatory effect of koumine on B cells under dependent and independent responses by T cells.


Lin Y, Liu Q, Chen Z, Zheng F, Huang H, Yu C, Yang J
Eur J Pharmacol. 2021 Dec 07:174690.
PMID: 34890543.


Dysregulated activation of polyclonal B cells and production of pathogenic antibodies are involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Therefore, targeted B cell therapy is effective against RA. Gelsemium elegans (Gardn. & Champ.) Benth., a toxic plant widely distributed in Southeast Asia, has been used for treating rheumatoid pain, neuropathic pain, spasticity, skin ulcers, and cancers for many years in traditional Chinese medicine. Koumine, an alkaloid monomer from Gelsemium elegans Benth., exerts therapeutic effects against RA. However, whether koumine affects B cells remains unknown. In this study, the effect of koumine on B cells under T cell-independent (TI) and T cell-dependent (TD) immune responses is investigated in vitro and in vivo. Mouse primary B cells were obtained by immunomagnetic bead sorting, and immunomodulatory effects of koumine on the activation, proliferation, and differentiation of B cells were determined in TI and TD models induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and anti-CD40 antibodies in vitro, respectively. The humoral immune responses of TI and TD were established using NP-AECM-FICOLL and NP-CGG in C57BL/6J mice, respectively. We found that koumine inhibited B cell differentiation in the TI model and inhibited B cell activation and proliferation in the TD model in vitro. Koumine also inhibited antibody secretion in TI immune response, TD initial immune response, and in TD secondary immune response. Our results reveal that koumine has a direct and indirect immune regulatory effect on B cells, showing that it can directly inhibit the differentiation and secretion of autoantibodies after abnormal activation of B cells, and indirectly inhibit the activation and proliferation of TD B cells to reduce the secretion of antibodies. It may be an important mechanism for its anti-RA effect in mice, providing a rationale and laboratory data support for the application of koumine in anti-human RA therapy.