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Vaccine. 2004 Feb 17;22(7):805-11.

Interactions of commensal gut microbes with subsets of B- and T-cells in the murine host.

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Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6018, USA.


Although mechanisms operative in the induction and maintenance of specific, adaptive immunity, including 'cognate' B/T interactions, have been extensively studied and defined, we still know little about the mechanisms operative in developing and maintaining B- and T-cell dependent 'natural' immunity. Particularly, we are still rather ignorant concerning gut microbial/gut or systemic APC, T cell and B cell interactions that lead to lymphoid cell mediated 'natural' immunity: specific or broadly reactive, activation via TCR and BCR and/or via other receptors such as the TLR series, and whether T/B interactions are operative at this level? Here we will address: (1) the general role of gut microbes in the development and maintenance of the intestinal, humoral immune system; (2) the general role of gut microbes in the development of B1 cell mediated, 'natural' gut IgA and the dependence of these B1 cells on bystander T cell help; (3) the relative contributions of B1 versus B2 cells to gut 'natural' and specific IgA responses; (4) the role for particular 'normal' gut microbes in the initiation of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in mice with a dysregulated immune system; and (5) the possible roles of gut microbes in facilitating oral tolerance, a mechanism likely operative in forestalling or ameliorating IBD. A central theme of this paper is to attempt to define the specificities of activated, functional CD4+ T cells in the gut for Ags of particular, usually benign gut microbes. We will also consider the still-unresolved issue of whether the contributions of B1-derived IgA in the gut to the 'natural' Ab pool are Ag-selected and driven to proliferation/differentiation or whether the main stimuli are not via BCRs but rather other receptors (TLRs, etc.). The main experimental approach has been to use antigen-free, germ-free, or gnotobiotic (mono- or oligo-associated with precisely known bacterial species) mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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