Author(s): Nikbakht N, Migone TS, Ward CP, Manser T
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Abstract The peripheral B cell prosurvival cytokine BAFF/B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) has been proposed to participate in the regulation of immunological tolerance. Selective elimination or reconstitution of B cells expressing transgene-encoded, autoreactive BCRs upon systemic BLyS depletion or supplementation, respectively, was observed in two separate studies. Such findings led to a model positing a higher dependency of autoreactive B cells on BLyS. We tested this model by exploiting two targeted IgH transgenic mice (H chain knock-in [HKI]) that produce large numbers of follicular (FO) B cells that are either weakly or strongly autoreactive with nuclear autoantigens. Even though HKI B cells do not exhibit classical features of anergy, we found that mature, naive, autoreactive HKI B cells are outcompeted for representation in the periphery by a polyclonal B cell population. However, this is not due to a higher dependency of HKI B cells on BLyS for survival. Additionally, excess BLyS does not rescue HKI B cells from selective elimination. These findings suggest that some autoreactive FO B cells can fully develop while in competition with non-autoreactive cells for BLyS, but remain at a competitive disadvantage for other trophic factors that regulate peripheral stability. As such, our data indicate the existence of peripheral tolerance mechanisms that regulate the frequency of autoreactive FO B cells independent of the BLyS pathway.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology