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Autoimmun Rev. 2012 Jul;11(9):670-7. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.11.018. Epub 2011 Dec 2.

Human CD19(+)CD25(high) B regulatory cells suppress proliferation of CD4(+) T cells and enhance Foxp3 and CTLA-4 expression in T-regulatory cells.

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Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.


Studies in both animal models and humans have shown a subset of B cells behaving as immuno-regulatory cells, being a source of inhibitory cytokines such as IL-10 and TGF-β. Our aims were to establish the presence of human B regulatory (Breg) cells and to assess their ability to suppress proliferation of CD4(+) T cells and to mediate T regulatory (Treg) cells' properties. For this purpose, human Breg, CD4(+) T and Treg cells were purified using magnetic microbeads. CFSE-labeled CD4(+) T cells were stimulated and cultured alone or with Breg cells. Their proliferative response was determined 72 hours later based on the CFSE staining. In parallel, Treg cells were cultured alone or with Breg cells in different conditions for 24 hours, and then stained and analyzed for Foxp3 and CTLA-4 expression. We found that, the co-culture of Breg cells (defined as CD25(high) CD27(high) CD86(high) CD1d(high) IL-10(high) TGF-β(high)) with autologous stimulated CD4(+) T cells decreased significantly (in a dose-dependent way) the proliferative capacity of CD4(+) T cells. Furthermore, Foxp3 and CTLA-4 expression in Treg cells were enhanced by non-stimulated and further by ODN-CD40L stimulated Breg cells. The regulatory function of Breg cells on Treg cells was mainly dependent on a direct contact between Breg and Treg cells, but was also TGF-β but not IL-10 dependent. In conclusion, human Breg cells decrease the proliferation of CD4(+) T cells and also enhance the expression of Foxp3 and CTLA-4 in Treg cells by cell-to-cell contact.

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