Diversity of gut microflora is required for the generation of B cell with regulatory properties in a skin graft model

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B cells have been reported to promote graft rejection through alloantibody production. However, there is growing evidence that B cells can contribute to the maintenance of tolerance. Here, we used a mouse model of MHC-class I mismatched skin transplantation to investigate the contribution of B cells to graft survival. We demonstrate that adoptive transfer of B cells prolongs skin graft survival but only when the B cells were isolated from mice housed in low sterility "conventional" (CV) facilities and not from mice housed in pathogen free facilities (SPF). However, prolongation of skin graft survival was lost when B cells were isolated from IL-10 deficient mice housed in CV facilities. The suppressive function of B cells isolated from mice housed in CV facilities correlated with an anti-inflammatory environment and with the presence of a different gut microflora compared to mice maintained in SPF facilities. Treatment of mice in the CV facility with antibiotics abrogated the regulatory capacity of B cells. Finally, we identified transitional B cells isolated from CV facilities as possessing the regulatory function. These findings demonstrate that B cells, and in particular transitional B cells, can promote prolongation of graft survival, a function dependent on licensing by gut microflora.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11554
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date25 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2015


  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Cytokines
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Graft Survival
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Interleukin-10
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Skin Transplantation
  • Spleen
  • Transplantation, Homologous


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