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Eur J Immunol. 2012 Apr;42(4):982-92. doi: 10.1002/eji.201141519.

Novel functions of murine B1 cells: active phagocytic and microbicidal abilities.

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Department of Dermatology, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, PR China.


B1 cells are evolutionarily conserved innate-like cells that share many features with macrophages. It has also been established that B1 cells have a close developmental relationship with macrophages. However, whether B1 cells are able to act as professional phagocytic cells is not clear. In this study, we report that mouse peritoneal cavity (PerC) B cells demonstrate in vivo and in vitro phagocytic activities for Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and polystyrene fluorescent microspheres. Approximately 5% of PerC B cells, mainly B1b cells, showed phagocytic activity. Ingested microbes were killed efficiently in the phagolysosome. The antigen-specific B-cell antigen receptor promoted B-cell phagocytosis, resulting in antigen presentation to T cells after uptake of bacteria. Our results reveal for the first time that mouse B1 cells have active phagocytic capabilities and thereby act as a bridge linking innate and adaptive immunity.

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