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J Immunol. 2006 May 15;176(10):6147-54.

B cells are required for generation of protective effector and memory CD4 cells in response to Pneumocystis lung infection.

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Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, NY 12983, USA.


B cell-deficient mice are susceptible to infection by Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. muris (PC). To determine whether this susceptibility is due to a requirement for B cells to prime T cells, we compared CD4 T cell responses to PC in bone marrow chimeric mice that express MHC class II (MHCII) on all APCs (wild-type (WT) chimeras) and in bone marrow chimeric mice that express MHCII on all APCs except B cells (MHCII(-/-) chimeras). Although PC was rapidly cleared by WT chimeric mice, PC levels remained high in chimeric mice that lacked MHCII on B cells. In addition, although T cells were primed in the draining lymph nodes of MHCII(-/-) chimeric mice, the number of activated CD4 T cells infiltrating the lungs of these mice was reduced relative to the number in the lungs of WT chimeras. We also adoptively transferred purified CD4 T cells from the draining lymph nodes of PC-infected normal or B cell-deficient mice into SCID mice. Mice that received CD4 cells from normal mice were able to mount a response to infection in the lungs and clear PC. However, mice that received CD4 cells from B cell-deficient mice had a delayed T cell response in the lungs and failed to control the infection. These data indicate that B cells play a vital role in generation of CD4(+) memory T cells in response to PC infection in the lungs.

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