Introduction: Whole blood functional assays are pharmacologically relevant in the drug discovery process to evaluate potency in a relevant biological matrix, to support establishment of PK/PD relationships and to aid in human dose predictions. However development of B cell activation assays by BCR ligation in rat whole blood has not been previously described. The aim of the present study was to develop novel methods of B cell activation in rat whole blood. Methods: B cell activation in rat whole blood was evaluated by measuring CD86 up-regulation via flow cytometry. Rat B cells in whole blood were stimulated with dextran-coupled anti-IgD or a combination of anti-IgD and TLR9 agonist. BTK, SYK, and PI3Kδ inhibitors were added to rat whole blood prior to activation with dextran-coupled anti-IgD or anti-IgD and TLR9 agonist combination for pharmacological validation of the assay. Results: Both methods of stimulation in rat whole blood evoked robust B cell activation in a uni-modal fashion. Highly selective inhibitors of BTK, SYK, and PI3Kδ dose-dependently attenuated B cell activity evoked by both dextran-coupled anti-IgD and combined anti-IgD and TLR9 agonist. Compound potencies and rank order determined by the two assays were comparable. Discussion: Two novel methods were developed to stimulate B cells in rat whole blood, that have the potential to be used to support drug discovery efforts in the therapeutic targeting of B cells. Furthermore, we pharmacologically validated these whole blood assays using highly selective inhibitors of BTK, SYK, and PI3Kδ, signaling kinases which are downstream of the B cell receptor.
Shin, J., Spatz, M., Brandish, P., Gervais, F., Zhang-Hoover, J., Leccese, E., & Hicks, A. (2015). Development and pharmacological validation of novel methods of B cell activation in rat whole blood. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods, 71, 61–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vascn.2014.12.006