Gene transfer of Ig-fusion proteins into B cells prevents and treats autoimmune diseases

Marco E.F. Melo, Jiahua Qian, Moustapha El-Amine, Rajeev K. Agarwal, Nadejda Soukhareva, Yubin Kang, David W. Scott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Based on the tolerogenic properties of IgG carriers and B cell Ag presentation, we developed a retrovirally mediated gene expression approach for treatment of autoimmune conditions. In this study, we show that the IgG-Ag retroviral constructs, expressing myelin basic protein (MBP) or glutamic acid decarboxylase in B cells, can be used for the treatment of murine models for multiple sclerosis and diabetes. Transduction of syngeneic B cells with MBP-IgG leads to the amelioration of ongoing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis induced by the transfer of primed cells from PL×SJL F1 mice with ongoing disease and could be effective even after symptoms appeared. This effect is specific and does not involve bystander suppression because treatment with MBP-IgG does not affect disease induced after immunization with proteolipid protein immunodominant peptide plus MBP. Interestingly, if donor B cells are derived from gld mice (Fas ligand-negative), then tolerance is not induced with a model Ag although there was no evidence for Fas ligand-mediated deletion of target T cells. In spontaneous diabetes in nonobese diabetic mice, we were able to stop the ongoing autoimmune process by treatment at 7-10 wk with glutamic acid decarboxylase-IgG retrovirally transduced B cells, or attenuate it with B cells transduced with an insulin B chain (B9-23) epitope IgG fusion protein. Furthermore, IgG fusion protein gene therapy can also protect primed recipients from Ag-induced anaphylactic shock, and thus does not cause immune deviation. These results demonstrate proof of principle for future efforts to develop this approach in a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4788-4795
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2002
Externally publishedYes


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