B-lymphocyte effector functions in health and disease.


B cells and humoral immunity make up an important component of the immune system and play a vital role in preventing and fighting off infection by various pathogens. B cells also have been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease. However, the various functions that B cells perform during the development and maintenance of autoimmune conditions remain unclear. Therefore, the overall goal of this dissertation was to determine what roles B cells play during autoimmune disease. In the Chapter 3 of this dissertation, the function of B cells was assessed during tumor immunity, a model of immune system activation and cellular immunity. To quantify B cell contributions to T cell-mediated anti-tumor immune responses, mature B cells were depleted from wild type adult mice using CD20 monoclonal antibody (mAb) prior to syngeneic B16 melanoma tumor transfers. Remarkably, subcutaneous (s.c.) tumor volume and lung metastasis were increased two-fold in B cell-depleted mice. Effector-memory and interferon (IFN)γ or tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α-secreting CD4+ and CD8+ T cell induction was significantly impaired in B cell-depleted mice with tumors. Tumor antigen (Ag)-specific CD8+ T cell proliferation was also impaired in tumor-bearing mice that lacked B cells. Thus, B cells were required for optimal T cell activation and cellular immunity in this in vivo non-lymphoid tumor model. In Chapter 4 of this dissertation, the roles that B cells play during immune responses elicited by different allografts were assessed, since allograft rejection is thought to be T cell-mediated. The effects of B cell-depletion on acute cardiac rejection, chronic renal rejection, and skin graft rejection were compared using CD20 or CD19 mAbs. Both CD20 and CD19 mAbs effectively depleted mature B cells, while CD19 mAb treatment depleted plasmablasts and some plasma cells. B cell depletion did not affect acute cardiac allograft rejection, although CD19 mAb treatment prevented allograft-specific IgG production. Nonetheless, CD19 mAb treatment significantly reduced renal allograft rejection and abrogated allograft-specific IgG development, while CD20 mAb treatment did not. By contrast, B cell depletion exacerbated skin allograft rejection and augmented the proliferation of adoptively transferred alloAg-specific CD4+ T cells, demonstrating that B cells can also negatively regulate allograft rejection. Thereby, B cells can either positively or negatively regulate allograft rejection depending on the nature of the allograft and the intensity of the rejection response. Serum antibody (Ab) is, at least in part, responsible for protection against pathogens and tissue destruction during autoimmunity. In Chapter 5 of this dissertation, the mechanisms responsible for the maintenance of long-lived serum Ab levels were examined, since the relationship between memory B cells, long-lived plasma cells, and long-lived humoral immunity remains controversial. To address the roles of B cell subsets in the longevity of humoral responses, mature B cells were depleted in mice using CD20 mAb. CD20+ B cell depletion prevented humoral immune responses and class switching, and depleted existing and adoptively-transferred B cell memory. Nonetheless, B cell depletion did not affect serum Ig levels, Ag-specific Ab titers, or bone marrow (BM) Ab-secreting plasma cell numbers. Co-blockade of LFA-1 and VLA-4 adhesion molecules temporarily depleted long-lived plasma cells from the BM. CD20+ B cell depletion plus LFA-1/VLA-4 mAb treatment significantly prolonged Ag-specific plasma cell depletion from the BM, with a significant decrease in Ag-specific serum IgG. Collectively, these results indicate that BM plasma cells are intrinsically long-lived. Further, these studies now demonstrate that mature and memory B cells are not required for maintaining BM plasma cell numbers, but are required for repopulation of plasma cell-deficient BM. Thereby, depleting mature and memory B cells does not have a dramatic negative effect on pre-existing Ab levels. Collectively, the studies described in this dissertation demonstrate that B cells function through multiple effector mechanisms to influence the course and intensity of normal and autoreactive immune responses: the promotion of cellular immune responses and CD4+ T cell activation, the negative regulation of cellular immune responses, and the production and maintenance of long-lived Ag-specific serum Ab titers. Therefore, each of these three B cell effector mechanisms can contribute independently or in concert with the other mechanisms to clear pathogens or cause tissue damage during autoimmunity.






DiLillo, David John (2010). B-lymphocyte effector functions in health and disease. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/3077.


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