Publications by authors named "Julia Spengler"

5 Publications

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Immunoglobulin characteristics and RNAseq data of FcRL4+ B cells sorted from synovial fluid and tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Data Brief 2017 Aug 7;13:356-370. Epub 2017 Jun 7.

Rheumatology Research Group, RACE AR UK Centre of Excellence in RA Pathogenesis, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.

This manuscript is a companion paper to Amara et al. [1]. Data shown here include detailed clinical characteristics from anonymized patients, the Ig subclass data generated from B cells sorted from four individual patients, tables detailing variable gene region sequences from sorted cells linked to the patient information and the sequence yields from individual patients. Furthermore a URL link to the RNAseq datasets submitted to GEO is included.
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August 2017

B cells expressing the IgA receptor FcRL4 participate in the autoimmune response in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

J Autoimmun 2017 Jul 24;81:34-43. Epub 2017 Mar 24.

Rheumatology Research Group, RACE AR UK Centre of Excellence in RA Pathogenesis, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. Electronic address:

The clinical efficacy of B cell targeting therapies highlights the pathogenic potential of B cells in inflammatory diseases. Expression of Fc Receptor like 4 (FcRL4) identifies a memory B cell subset, which is enriched in the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and in mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue. The high level of RANKL production by this B cell subset indicates a unique pathogenic role. In addition, recent work has identified a role for FcRL4 as an IgA receptor, suggesting a potential function in mucosal immunity. Here, the contribution of FcRL4+ B cells to the specific autoimmune response in the joints of patients with RA was investigated. Single FcRL4+ and FcRL4- B cells were sorted from synovial fluid and tissue from RA patients and their immunoglobulin genes characterized. Levels of hypermutation in the variable regions in both populations were largely consistent with memory B cells selected by an antigen- and T cell-dependent process. Recombinant antibodies were generated based on the IgH and IgL variable region sequences and investigated for antigen specificity. A significantly larger proportion of the recombinant antibodies generated from individual synovial FcRL4+ B cells showed reactivity towards citrullinated autoantigens. Furthermore, both in analyses based on heavy chain sequences and flow cytometric detection, FcRL4+ B cells have significantly increased usage of the IgA isotype. Their low level of expression of immunoglobulin and plasma cell differentiation genes does not suggest current antibody secretion. We conclude that these activated B cells are a component of the local autoimmune response, and through their RANKL expression, can contribute to joint destruction. Furthermore, their expression of FcRL4 and their enrichment in the IgA isotype points towards a potential role for these cells in the link between mucosal and joint inflammation.
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July 2017

DKK1 expression by synovial fibroblasts in very early rheumatoid arthritis associates with lymphocyte adhesion in an in vitro flow co-culture system.

Arthritis Res Ther 2016 Jan 19;18:14. Epub 2016 Jan 19.

Rheumatology Research Group, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing (IIA), University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, B15 2WB, UK.

Background: Synovial fibroblasts play a key role in joint destruction and regulation of the inflammatory infiltrate in established rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The mechanisms by which this occurs in the earliest stages of RA are largely unknown. We investigated the role of Dickkopf-related protein 1 (DKK1) produced by synovial fibroblasts of patients with very early rheumatoid arthritis (VeRA).

Methods: Fibroblasts were isolated from the disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug-naive Birmingham early arthritis cohort of patients with new onset of clinically apparent arthritis and inflammatory symptoms of ≤12 weeks' duration, who at follow-up had either resolving arthritis or RA. Endothelial fibroblast co-cultures were formed using porous filters, and lymphocyte adhesion to co-cultures was assessed using phase-contrast microscopy. DKK1 gene expression and secretion were quantified by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively.

Results: Synovial fibroblasts from patients with VeRA expressed significantly higher levels of DKK1 messenger RNA than those from patients with resolving arthritis. A similar trend was observed for DKK1 protein secretion. In co-culture constructs, more DKK1 tended to be secreted in co-cultures incorporating fibroblasts from VeRA than in co-cultures from non-inflamed joints and resolving arthritis. DKK1 secretion during co-culture positively correlated with lymphocyte adhesion.

Conclusions: Alterations in DKK1 could be involved in the pathogenesis and perpetuation of the inflammatory response in the earliest clinically apparent stages of RA.
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January 2016

Release of Active Peptidyl Arginine Deiminases by Neutrophils Can Explain Production of Extracellular Citrullinated Autoantigens in Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fluid.

Arthritis Rheumatol 2015 Dec;67(12):3135-45

Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis and University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Objective: In the majority of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), antibodies specifically recognize citrullinated autoantigens that are generated by peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs). Neutrophils express high levels of PAD and accumulate in the synovial fluid (SF) of RA patients during disease flares. This study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that neutrophil cell death, induced by either NETosis (extrusion of genomic DNA-protein complexes known as neutrophil extracellular traps [NETs]) or necrosis, can contribute to production of autoantigens in the inflamed joint.

Methods: Extracellular DNA was quantified in the SF of patients with RA, patients with osteoarthritis (OA), and patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Release of PAD from neutrophils was investigated by Western blotting, mass spectrometry, immunofluorescence staining, and PAD activity assays. PAD2 and PAD4 protein expression, as well as PAD enzymatic activity, were assessed in the SF of patients with RA and those with OA.

Results: Extracellular DNA was detected at significantly higher levels in RA SF than in OA SF (P < 0.001) or PsA SF (P < 0.05), and its expression levels correlated with neutrophil concentrations and PAD activity in RA SF. Necrotic neutrophils released less soluble extracellular DNA compared to NETotic cells in vitro (P < 0.05). Higher PAD activity was detected in RA SF than in OA SF (P < 0.05). The citrullinated proteins PAD2 and PAD4 were found attached to NETs and also freely diffused in the supernatant. PAD enzymatic activity was detected in supernatants of neutrophils undergoing either NETosis or necrosis.

Conclusion: Release of active PAD isoforms into the SF by neutrophil cell death is a plausible explanation for the generation of extracellular autoantigens in RA.
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December 2015

Impaired neutrophil directional chemotactic accuracy in chronic periodontitis patients.

J Clin Periodontol 2015 Jan 8;42(1):1-11. Epub 2015 Jan 8.

Periodontal Research Group and MRC Centre for Immune Regulation, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Aim: To investigate the chemotactic accuracy of peripheral blood neutrophils from patients with chronic periodontitis compared with matched healthy controls, before and after non-surgical periodontal therapy.

Material & Methods: Neutrophils were isolated from patients and controls (n = 18) by density centrifugation. Using the Insall chamber and video microscopy, neutrophils were analysed for directional chemotaxis towards N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine [fMLP (10 nM), or CXCL8 (200 ng/ml)]. Circular statistics were utilized for the analysis of cell movement.

Results: Prior to treatment, neutrophils from patients with chronic periodontitis had significantly reduced speed, velocity and chemotactic accuracy compared to healthy controls for both chemoattractants. Following periodontal treatment, patient neutrophils continued to display reduced speed in response to both chemoattractants. However, velocity and accuracy were normalized for the weak chemoattractant CXCL8 while they remained significantly reduced for fMLP.

Conclusions: Chronic periodontitis is associated with reduced neutrophil chemotaxis, and this is only partially restored by successful treatment. Dysfunctional neutrophil chemotaxis may predispose patients with periodontitis to their disease by increasing tissue transit times, thus exacerbating neutrophil-mediated collateral host tissue damage.
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January 2015