Hensvold A, Horuluoglu B, Sahlström P, Thyagarajan R, Diaz Boada JS, Hansson M, Mathsson-Alm L, Gerstner C, Sippl N, Israelsson L, Wedin R, Steen J, Klareskog L, Réthi B, Catrina AI, Diaz-Gallo LM, Malmström V, Grönwall C
J. Autoimmun. 136 (-) 103022 [2023-04-00; online 2023-03-29]
A majority of circulating IgG is produced by plasma cells residing in the bone marrow (BM). Long-lived BM plasma cells constitute our humoral immune memory and are essential for infection-specific immunity. They may also provide a reservoir of potentially pathogenic autoantibodies, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-associated anti-citrullinated protein autoantibodies (ACPA). Here we investigated paired human BM plasma cell and peripheral blood (PB) B-cell repertoires in seropositive RA, four ACPA+ RA patients and one ACPA- using two different single-cell approaches, flow cytometry sorting, and transcriptomics, followed by recombinant antibody generation. Immunoglobulin (Ig) analysis of >900 paired heavy-light chains from BM plasma cells identified by either surface CD138 expression or transcriptome profiles (including gene expression of MZB1, JCHAIN and XBP1) demonstrated differences in IgG/A repertoires and N-linked glycosylation between patients. For three patients, we identified clonotypes shared between BM plasma cells and PB memory B cells. Notably, four individuals displayed plasma cells with identical heavy chains but different light chains, which may indicate receptor revision or clonal convergence. ACPA-producing BM plasma cells were identified in two ACPA+ patients. Three of 44 recombinantly expressed monoclonal antibodies from ACPA+ RA BM plasma cells were CCP2+, specifically binding to citrullinated peptides. Out of these, two clones reacted with citrullinated histone-4 and activated neutrophils. In conclusion, single-cell investigation of B-cell repertoires in RA bone marrow provided new understanding of human plasma cells clonal relationships and demonstrated pathogenically relevant disease-associated autoantibody expression in long-lived plasma cells.