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Homeostatic regulation of marginal zone B cells by invariant natural killer T cells.

  • Author(s): Wen, Xiangshu
  • Yang, Jun-Qi
  • Kim, Peter J
  • Singh, Ram Raj
  • et al.

Marginal zone B cells (MZB) mount a rapid antibody response, potently activate naïve T cells, and are enriched in autoreactive B cells. MZBs express high levels of CD1d, the restriction element for invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT). Here, we examined the effect of iNKT cells on MZB cell activation and numbers in vitro and in vivo in normal and autoimmune mice. Results show that iNKT cells activate MZBs, but restrict their numbers in vitro and in vivo in normal BALB/c and C57/BL6 mice. iNKT cells do so by increasing the activation-induced cell death and curtailing proliferation of MZB cells, whereas they promote the proliferation of follicular B cells. Sorted iNKT cells can directly execute this function, without help from other immune cells. Such MZB regulation by iNKTs is mediated, at least in part, via CD1d on B cells in a contact-dependent manner, whereas iNKT-induced proliferation of follicular B cells occurs in a contact- and CD1d-independent manner. Finally, we show that iNKT cells reduce 'autoreactive' MZB cells in an anti-DNA transgenic model, and limit MZB cell numbers in autoimmune-prone (NZB×NZW)F1 and non-obese diabetic mice, suggesting a potentially new mechanism whereby iNKT cells might regulate pathologic autoimmunity. Differential regulation of follicular B cells versus potentially autoreactive MZBs by iNKT cells has important implications for autoimmune diseases as well as for conditions that require a rapid innate B cell response.

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