Research Day

Analysis Of B Cell Progenitors In Sickle Cell Disease

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Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a one of the most common hematological disorders affecting millions of people worldwide. One of the major causes of death for those with SCD is Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. Children with SCD are 600 times more likely to become infected with S. pneumoniae than healthy children. Despite current interventions such as prophylactic antibiotics and vaccination, pneumococcal infection still poses a great risk to sickle cell patients. The study of B-lymphocytes is of great importance when optimizing vaccination strategies, enhancing passive protection, and/or developing other treatments for mitigating infection in sickle cell patients. Herein, we utilize flow cytometry analysis to determine whether or not there are significant changes in either the number and/or phenotype of B cell progenitors present in the bone marrow of a mouse model of SCD as compared to healthy controls. Our results demonstrate a lower number of total bone marrow cells as well as alterations in the number of cells within the intermediate stages of B cell development in mice with sickle cell disease. The intermediate stages of B cell development lead to a mature B cell, which produces antibodies capable of fighting infection. An alteration in B cell development could alter the number of functional mature B cells available to fight infection. Thus, understanding B cell development in the sickle cell disease state will help drive the development of therapeutic strategies for antibody defense against S. pneumoniae infections and work towards improved outcomes in patients afflicted with sickle cell disease.

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