Yan, Y;Li, Z;Zhang, GX;Williams, MS;Carey, GB;Zhang, J;Rostami, A;Xu, H;
Recent data show that anti-CD20 therapy is effective for some autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the efficacy of anti-CD20 therapy for MS is largely limited because anti-CD20 antibodies target only B cells. In previous studies, we have investigated the function of MS4a4B, a novel CD20 homologue, in T cell proliferation. Here, we found that MS4a4B regulates not only T cell proliferation but also T cell apoptosis. Knockdown of MS4a4B by MS4a4B-siRNA or MS4a4B-shRNA-expressing vector promoted apoptosis in primary T cells and T32 cell line. In contrast, vector-driven over-expression of MS4a4B reduced apoptosis in EL-4 cells. Machinery analysis showed that MS4a4B-mediated T cell survival was associated with decreased activity of caspases 3, 8 and 9. Interestingly, binding of anti-MS4a4B antibodies to T cells induced activated T cells to undergo apoptosis. To test whether anti-MS4a4B antibody interferes with MS4a4B-mediated protection of T cells, we injected anti-MS4a4B antibodies into mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The results show that anti-MS4a4B treatment ameliorated the severity of EAE, accompanied by decreased Th1 and Th17 cell responses and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the central nervous system, suggesting that MS4a4B may serve as a target of antibody-based therapy for T cell-mediated diseases.