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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Apr 2022 - 6 May 2022


Front Cell Neurosci


Sex-Specific B Cell and Anti-Myelin Autoantibody Response After Peripheral Nerve Injury.


Lee H J, Remacle AG, Hullugundi SK, Dolkas J, Leung JB, Chernov AV, Yaksh TL, Strongin AY, Shubayev VI
Front Cell Neurosci. 2022; 16:835800.
PMID: 35496906.


Immunotherapy holds promise as a non-addictive treatment of refractory chronic pain states. Increasingly, sex is recognized to impact immune regulation of pain states, including mechanical allodynia (pain from non-painful stimulation) that follows peripheral nerve trauma. This study aims to assess the role of B cells in sex-specific responses to peripheral nerve trauma. Using a rat model of sciatic nerve chronic constriction injury (CCI), we analyzed sex differences in (i) the release of the immunodominant neural epitopes of myelin basic protein (MBP); (ii) the levels of serum immunoglobulin M (IgM)/immunoglobulin G (IgG) autoantibodies against the MBP epitopes; (iii) endoneurial B cell/CD20 levels; and (iv) mechanical sensitivity behavior after B cell/CD20 targeting with intravenous (IV) Rituximab (RTX) and control, IV immunoglobulin (IVIG), therapy. The persistent MBP epitope release in CCI nerves of both sexes was accompanied by the serum anti-MBP IgM autoantibody in female CCI rats alone. IV RTX therapy during CD20-reactive cell infiltration of nerves of both sexes reduced mechanical allodynia in females but not in males. IVIG and vehicle treatments had no effect in either sex. These findings provide strong evidence for sexual dimorphism in B-cell function after peripheral nervous system (PNS) trauma and autoimmune pathogenesis of neuropathic pain, potentially amenable to immunotherapeutic intervention, particularly in females. A myelin-targeted serum autoantibody may serve as a biomarker of such painful states. This insight into the biological basis of sex-specific response to neuraxial injury will help personalize regenerative and analgesic therapies.