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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 3678152, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/3678152
Clinical Study

Circulating Memory T Follicular Helper Cells in Patients with Neuromyelitis Optica/Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorders

1Department of Neurology and Neuroscience Center, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Jilin University, Changchun 130000, China
2Genetic Diagnosis Center, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Jilin University, Changchun 130000, China
3Key Laboratory for Zoonosis Research, Ministry of Education, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Jilin University, Changchun 130000, China
4Jiangsu Co-Innovation Center for Prevention and Control of Important Animal Infectious Diseases and Zoonosis, Yangzhou 225000, China
5Department of Neurology, The Hospital of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin 150000, China

Received 20 November 2015; Revised 14 February 2016; Accepted 17 February 2016

Academic Editor: Julio Galvez

Copyright © 2016 Xueli Fan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Objective. This study aimed to examine the potential role of memory T follicular helper (Tfh) cells in patients with neuromyelitis optica/neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMO/NMOSD). Methods. The percentages of different subsets of circulating memory Tfh cells in 25 NMO/NMOSD patients before and after treatment as well as in 17 healthy controls were examined by flow cytometry. The levels of IL-21 and AQP4 Ab in plasma and CSF were measured by ELISA. Results. The percentages and numbers of circulating memory Tfh cells, ICOS+, CCR7, CCR7ICOS+, CCR7+, CCR7+ICOS+ memory Tfh cells, and the levels of IL-21 in plasma and CSF were significantly increased in NMO/NMOSD patients. The percentages of CCR7 and CCR7ICOS+ memory Tfh cells were positively correlated with ARR, plasma IL-21, and AQP4 Ab levels. The percentages of CCR7+ and CCR7+ICOS+ memory Tfh cells were positively correlated with CSF white blood cell counts, proteins, and IL-21 levels. Treatment with corticosteroids significantly reduced the numbers of CCR7ICOS+ and CCR7+ICOS+ memory Tfh cells as well as plasma IL-21 levels in patients with partial remission. Conclusions. Our findings indicate that circulating memory Tfh cells may participate in the relapse and development of NMO/NMOSD and may serve as a new therapeutic target.