CpG DNA increases primary malignant B cell expression of costimulatory molecules and target antigens

Bernd Jahrsdörfer, Gunther Hartmann, Emil Racila, Wallen Jackson, Lars Mühlenhoff, Gerold Meinhardt, Stefan Endres, Brian K. Link, Arthur M. Krieg, George J. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Multiple factors, including expression of costimulatory molecules, antigen-presenting molecules, and target antigens, likely impact the efficacy of antibody therapy and other approaches to the immunotherapy of B cell malignancy. Unmethylated CpG-dinucleotides in select base contexts ("CpG motifs") that resemble sequences found in bacterial DNA are potent immunostimulatory agents capable of inducing a complex immune response, including a strong B cell stimulus. We examined the effect of a potent human CpG oligonucleotide (CpG ODN 2006) on different types of primary human malignant B cells and reactive follicular hyperplasia. CpG of oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG ODN), but not control (non-CpG ODN), increased the expression of costimulatory molecules (CD40, CD80, CD86, CD54) on malignant B cells without altering the phenotype of B cells obtained from reactive follicular hyperplasia. CpG ODN also enhanced expression of class I and class II MHC in most samples. CD20 expression was increased in response to CpG ODN, most notably in B-CLL and marginal zone lymphoma. An inverse correlation was found between baseline expression of CD20 and CD40 and their expression after exposure to CpG ODN, thus the most significant increase in expression of these molecules was found in those samples that had the lowest baseline levels. In conclusion, CpG ODN can lead to increasing expression of molecules involved in co-stimulation, antigen presentation, and as targets for antibody-based therapy and deserve further evaluation as potential immunotherapeutic agents for B cell malignancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • B cell activation
  • CLL
  • Follicular hyperplasia
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • ODN


Dive into the research topics of 'CpG DNA increases primary malignant B cell expression of costimulatory molecules and target antigens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this