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B-1b cells play a key role in producing Abs against T cell-independent type 2 Ags. However, the factors regulating Ab production by this unique B cell subset are not well understood. In this study, a detailed analysis of the B cell response to 2,4,6-trinitrophenol (TNP)-Ficoll was performed using normal mice. TNP-Ficoll delivered i.p. or i.v. induced rapid Ag-specific B-1b cell activation, expansion, isotype switching, and plasmablast/plasma cell differentiation. Ag-specific B-1b cell numbers peaked at day 5 and then gradually declined in the spleen but remained elevated in the peritoneal cavity beyond 40 d postimmunization. In addition to expressing CD43, CD44, and CD86, Ag-activated B-1b cells transiently expressed programmed cell death 1 (PD-1), which functionally suppressed BCR-induced B-1b cell in vitro proliferation when additional costimulatory signals were lacking. Inhibiting PD-1:PD-1 ligand interactions during TNP-Ficoll immunization significantly enhanced Ag-specific B-1b cell expansion and the frequency of IgG isotype switching and plasmablast/plasma cell differentiation. Remarkably, PD-1 mAb blockade during the first week following immunization resulted in significantly increased numbers of both splenic and bone marrow Ag-specific IgG3-secreting cells, but not IgM-secreting cells, at both early (day 5) and late (week 6) time points. Moreover, Ag-specific serum IgG3 levels, as well as IgG2c, IgG2b, and IgA levels, remained significantly elevated in PD-1 mAb-treated mice relative to control Ab-treated mice for ≥6 wk postimmunization. Thus, PD-1:PD-1 ligand interactions occurring shortly after initial T cell-independent type 2 Ag encounter play a critical role in suppressing Ag-specific B-1b cell expansion and the development of long-term IgG-producing bone marrow and spleen cells.
PMID: 22003198 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]