B Cell-Activating Factor Neutralization Aggravates Atherosclerosis

Dimitrios Tsiantoulas*, Andrew P. Sage, Laura Göderle, Maria Ozsvar-Kozma, Deirdre Murphy, Florentina Porsch, Gerard Pasterkamp, Jörg Menche, Pascal Schneider, Ziad Mallat, Christoph J. Binder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) is the major cause of death globally and is caused by the buildup of a plaque in the arterial wall. Genomic data showed that the B cell-activating factor (BAFF) receptor pathway, which is specifically essential for the survival of conventional B lymphocytes (B-2 cells), is a key driver of coronary heart disease. Deletion or antibody-mediated blockade of BAFF receptor ablates B-2 cells and decreases experimental atherosclerosis. Anti-BAFF immunotherapy is approved for treatment of autoimmune systemic lupus erythematosus, and can therefore be expected to limit their associated cardiovascular risk. However, direct effects of anti-BAFF immunotherapy on atherosclerosis remain unknown. Methods: To investigate the effect of BAFF neutralization in atherosclerosis, the authors treated Apoe-/- and Ldlr-/- mice with a well-characterized blocking anti-BAFF antibody. Moreover, to investigate the mechanism by which BAFF impacts atherosclerosis, the authors studied atherosclerosis-prone mice that lack the alternative receptor for BAFF: transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor. Results: The authors demonstrate here that anti-BAFF antibody treatment increased atherosclerosis in mice, despite efficient depletion of mature B-2 cells, suggesting a unique mechanism of action. Indeed, myeloid cell-specific deletion of transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor also results in increased atherosclerosis, while B cell-specific transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor deletion had no effect. Mechanistically, BAFF-transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor signaling represses macrophage IRF7-dependent (but not NF-κB-dependent) Toll-like receptor 9 responses including proatherogenic CXCL10 production. Conclusions: These data identify a novel B cell-independent anti-inflammatory role for BAFF in atherosclerosis and may have important clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2263-2273
Number of pages11
Issue number20
Early online date1 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2018


  • atherosclerosis
  • B-cell activating factor
  • B-lymphocytes
  • inflammation
  • Transmembrane Activator and CAML Interactor Protein


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