Anti-CD20 Ab therapy has proven successful for treating B cell malignancies and a number of autoimmune diseases. However, how anti-CD20 Abs operate in vivo to mediate B cell depletion is not fully understood. In particular, the anatomical location, the type of effector cells, and the mechanism underlying anti-CD20 therapy remain uncertain. Here, we found that the liver is a major site for B cell depletion and that recirculation accounts for the decrease in B cell numbers observed in secondary lymphoid organs. Using intravital imaging, we established that, upon anti-CD20 treatment, Kupffer cells (KCs) mediate the abrupt arrest and subsequent engulfment of B cells circulating in the liver sinusoids. KCs were also effective in depleting malignant B cells in a model of spontaneous lymphoma. Our results identify Ab-dependent cellular phagocytosis by KCs as a primary mechanism of anti-CD20 therapy and provide an experimental framework for optimizing the efficacy of therapeutic Abs.
Fabricio Montalvao, Zacarias Garcia, Susanna Celli, Béatrice Breart, Jacques Deguine, Nico Van Rooijen, Philippe Bousso
Tracking KCs using the MAFIA mouse model.