ASN's Mission

To create a world without kidney diseases, the ASN Alliance for Kidney Health elevates care by educating and informing, driving breakthroughs and innovation, and advocating for policies that create transformative changes in kidney medicine throughout the world.

learn more

Contact ASN

1401 H St, NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20005


The Latest on X

Kidney Week

Please note that you are viewing an archived section from 2023 and some content may be unavailable. To unlock all content for 2023, please visit the archives.

Abstract: FR-PO1032

Alterations in Frequency and Function Exhausted Memory B Cells in Lupus Nephritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Session Information

Category: CKD (Non-Dialysis)

  • 2303 CKD (Non-Dialysis): Mechanisms


  • Zhu, Litong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, HongKong, Hong Kong
  • Yap, Yat Hin Desmond, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, HongKong, Hong Kong

Various B cell abnormalities have been implicated in the pathogenesis of LN, and our previous studies have demonstrated that memory B cells assume pathogenic relevance in disease relapse. Exhausted B cell is a B lymphocyte aberration initially reported in HIV infection, and was also observed in autoimmune disorders. The pathogenic roles of exhausted B cells in LN and disease relapse remains unclear.


Classical memory (CD19+CD21+CD27+) and exhausted B cells (CD19+CD21–CD27–) were measured in LN patients with multiple relapses (MR) (n=12) or no relapse (NR) (n=12) during disease remission. B cell-related cytokines, homing and inhibitory receptors, proliferation and calcium mobilization in classical and exhausted memory B cells were also assessed. Using single-cell RNA sequencing data from NIH and GEO, we also performed bioinformatics analysis to identify genes and pathways relevant to memory and exhausted B cells in SLE, LN and healthy controls.


The MR group exhibited higher proportion of circulating exhausted B cells compared to NR (16.7 ± 9.5% vs 10.5 ± 5.7%, p <0.05). Blood levels of IL-6, BAFF and IL-21 in MR patients were higher than the NR group (75.1 ± 37.2 vs 33.6 ± 14.2 pg/ml; 1491.1 ± 680.9 vs 1120.1 ± 384.1 pg/ml and 23.5 ± 23.0 vs 5.1 ± 3.1 pg/ml respectively; p<0.05, for all) . The MR had higher blood levels of Siglec-6, CXCR3 and CD62L than the NR group (2.6 ± 0.8 vs 1.3 ± 0.6 ng/ml; 2.3 ± 1.4 vs 1.6 ± 0.8 ng/ml; 3240.9 ± 1002.0 vs 2497.0 ± 671.8 ng/ml respectively, p<0.05 for all) . Expression of inhibitory receptors CD22, CD85j, CD183 and FCRL4 in exhausted B cells were increased in the MR group compared to the NR group. Exhausted B cells from MR patients also showed decreased proliferation compared to NR patients (1.9 ± 1.1% vs 3.8 ± 1.3%, p<0.05) and impaired calcium mobilization in response to B-cell receptor triggering. STAT1, XAF1, MX1, IFI44L,EPSTI1,LCP1,OAS1, NEAT1, IFI16, IFI44 in exhausted B cells and XAF1,MX1, IFI44L in memory B cells play a pathogenic role in LN patients. SLE patient also show increased proportion of exhausted B cells compared to healthy control and the expression of STAT1, XAF1, MX1, IFI44L correlate positively with the proportion of exhausted B cells.


Our results suggested that altered numbers and function of exhausted B cells may have pathogenic significance in SLE and LN.


  • Government Support – Non-U.S.