Collagen-induced arthritis is a B cell-mediated autoimmune disease. Recently published studies have demonstrated that in some rare cases pathogens can confer protection from autoimmunity. Trypanosoma brucei parasites are tsetse fly transmitted extracellular protozoans causing sleeping sickness disease in humans and Nagana in livestock in sub-Saharan endemic areas. In the past, we demonstrated that trypanosome infections impair B cell homeostasis and abolish vaccine-induced protection against unrelated antigens. Hence, here we hypothesized that trypanosome infection can affect the onset of CIA by specifically dampening specific B-cell responses and type II collagen antibody titers in DBA/1 prone mice. We observed a substantial delay in the onset of collagen-induced arthritis in T. brucei-infected DBA/1 mice that correlates with a drastic decrease of type II collagen titers of the different IgG isotypes in the serum. Treatment of infected mice with Berenil, a trypanocidal drug, restored the development of CIA-associated clinical symptoms. Interestingly, these data were confirmed by the challenge of immunized DBA/1 prone mice with T. brucei-infected tsetse flies. Together, these results demonstrate that T. brucei infection is impairing the maintenance of the antigen specific plasma B cell pool driving the development of CIA in DBA/1 prone mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0130431
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2015

ID: 17342157