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AbBcMS project

Laatste wijziging: 24 January 2022

Study on antibody dependent and independent B-cell function in multiple sclerosis


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Veerle Somers, Researcher: Dr. Judith Fraussen


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system with an unknown etiology. B-cells in MS patients produce auto-antibodies which can kill target cells in the brain. Despite intensive research the exact antigenic targets of these B-cells and auto-antibodies in MS is still unknown. Also, antibody-independent B-cell functions are important in MS, such as antigen-presentation, co-stimulation of T-cells and cytokine production.

In order to achieve a faster and improved diagnosis and therapy for MS, there is need for additional diagnostic and therapeutic targets. The goal of this project is to further study the antibody-dependent and -independent B-cell functions in MS.


The antibody-dependent B-cell functions are examined by immortalization of B-cells in cerebrospinal fluid and/or blood of MS patients, control patients and healthy individuals. B-cells are isolated from PBMC (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) fraction and infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This results in a continuously proliferating cell line that produces large amounts of antibodies. These cells are than further examined to identify the target antigens of the auto-reactive B-cells of MS patients. Furthermore, the role of antibody-independent B-cell function in MS is further unraveled by studying the capacity of B-cells to present antigens in MS patients and healthy individuals. Also, the investigation of the interaction between B-cells and T-cells will lead to new insights in the pathogenesis of MS and may eventually lead to improved and more specific therapies for patients.



  • Fraussen J, Claes N, Van Wijmeersch B, van Horssen J, Stinissen P, Hupperts R, Somers V. B cells of multiple sclerosis patients induce autoreactive proinflammatory T cell responses. Clin Immunol. 2016;173:124-132.