Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2013 Aug 21;8(8):e73644. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073644. eCollection 2013.

B cell deficient mice are protected from biliary obstruction in the rotavirus-induced mouse model of biliary atresia.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Children's Hospital, Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, USA.


A leading theory regarding the pathogenesis of biliary atresia (BA) is that bile duct injury is initiated by a virus infection, followed by an autoimmune response targeting bile ducts. In experimental models of autoimmune diseases, B cells have been shown to play an important role. The aim of this study was to determine the role of B cells in the development of biliary obstruction in the Rhesus rotavirus (RRV)-induced mouse model of BA. Wild-type (WT) and B cell-deficient (Ig-α(-/-)) mice received RRV shortly after birth. Ig-α(-/-) RRV-infected mice had significantly increased disease-free survival rate compared to WT RRV-infected BA mice (76.8% vs. 17.5%). In stark contrast to the RRV-infected BA mice, the RRV-infected Ig-α(-/-) mice did not have hyperbilirubinemia or bile duct obstruction. The RRV-infected Ig-α(-/-) mice had significantly less liver inflammation and Th1 cytokine production compared to RRV-infected WT mice. In addition, Ig-α(-/-) mice had significantly increased numbers of regulatory T cells (Tregs) at baseline and after RRV infection compared to WT mice. However, depletion of Tregs in Ig-α(-/-) mice did not induce biliary obstruction, indicating that the expanded Tregs in the Ig-α(-/-) mice were not the sole reason for protection from disease. Conclusion : B cell deficient Ig-α(-/-) mice are protected from biliary obstruction in the RRV-induced mouse model of BA, indicating a primary role of B cells in mediating disease pathology. The mechanism of protection may involve lack of B cell antigen presentation, which impairs T-cell activation and Th1 inflammation. Immune modulators that inhibit B cell function may be a new strategy for treatment of BA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center