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J Immunol. 1992 Apr 1;148(7):2062-7.

Transforming growth factor-beta directs IgA switching in human B cells.

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DNAX Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1104.


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta added to cultures of highly purified human splenic B cells induced high levels of IgA synthesis in the presence of PWM and activated cloned CD4+ T cells. TGF-beta had no effect on IgM or IgG production. The induction of IgA synthesis by TGF-beta reflected IgA switching, because a strong induction of IgA production was also observed, when sIgA- B cells were cocultured with cloned activated CD4+ T cells in the presence of pokeweed mitogen. Resting CD4+ T cell clones or activated CD8+, TCR-gamma delta + CD4-,CD8- T cell clones failed to provide the co-stimulatory signal that in addition to TGF-beta and pokeweed mitogen was required for induction of IgA switching and IgA synthesis. mAb against CD4 or class II MHC molecules inhibited TGF-beta induced IgA synthesis, indicating that CD4-class II MHC interactions are required for productive T-B cell contacts resulting in IgA production. In contrast, anti-LFA-1, anti-CD2, and anti-class I MHC mAb were ineffective. TGF-beta failed to induce IgA synthesis by sIgA+ B cells under these culture conditions. Interestingly, induction of IgA production by sIgA- B cells required neutralization of TGF-beta activity by addition of the anti-TGF-beta mAb 1D11.1G 24 h after onset of the cultures. IgA production was prevented when the anti-TGF-beta mAb was added at the start of the cultures, indicating the specificity of the reaction. IgA synthesis was completely suppressed when TGF-beta was present during the total culture period of 11 days. These findings indicate that TGF-beta can act as a specific switch factor for IgA, provided it is only present at early stages of the cultures.

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