Author(s): Harada M, MagaraKoyanagi K, Watarai H, Nagata Y, Ishii Y,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Epidemiological studies have suggested that the recent increase in the incidence and severity of immunoglobulin (Ig)E-mediated allergic disorders is inversely correlated with Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccination; however, the underlying mechanisms remain uncertain. Here, we demonstrate that natural killer T (NKT) cells in mice and humans play a crucial role in the BCG-induced suppression of IgE responses. BCG-activated murine Valpha14 NKT cells, but not conventional CD4 T cells, selectively express high levels of interleukin (IL)-21, which preferentially induces apoptosis in Bepsilon cells. Signaling from the IL-21 receptor increases the formation of a complex between Bcl-2 and the proapoptotic molecule Bcl-2-modifying factor, resulting in Bepsilon cell apoptosis. Similarly, BCG vaccination induces IL-21 expression by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in a partially NKT cell-dependent fashion. BCG-activated PBMCs significantly reduce IgE production by human B cells. These findings provide new insight into the therapeutic effect of BCG in allergic diseases.
This article was published in J Exp Med
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology