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CEACAM1 mediates B cell aggregation in central nervous system autoimmunity

Rovituso, DM;Scheffler, L;Wunsch, M;Kleinschnitz, C;Drck, S;Ulzheimer, J;Bayas, A;Steinman, L;Ergn, S;Kuerten, S;

B cell aggregates in the central nervous system (CNS) have been associated with rapid disease progression in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Here we demonstrate a key role of carcinoembryogenic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule1 (CEACAM1) in B cell aggregate formation in MS patients and a B cell-dependent mouse model of MS. CEACAM1 expression was increased on peripheral blood B cells and CEACAM1(+) B cells were present in brain infiltrates of MS patients. Administration of the anti-CEACAM1 antibody T84.1 was efficient in blocking aggregation of B cells derived from MS patients. Along these lines, application of the monoclonal anti-CEACAM1 antibody mCC1 was able to inhibit CNS B cell aggregate formation and significantly attenuated established MS-like disease in mice in the absence of any adverse effects. CEACAM1 was co-expressed with the regulator molecule T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain -3 (TIM-3) on B cells, a novel molecule that has recently been described to induce anergy in T cells. Interestingly, elevated coexpression on B cells coincided with an autoreactive T helper cell phenotype in MS patients. Overall, these data identify CEACAM1 as a clinically highly interesting target in MS pathogenesis and open new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of the disease.