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CD301b(+) dendritic cells suppress T follicular helper cells and antibody responses to protein antigens.

Kumamoto, Y;Hirai, T;Wong, PW;Kaplan, DH;Iwasaki, A;

Strong antibody response is considered a hallmark of a successful vaccine. While dendritic cells (DCs) are important for T follicular helper (Tfh) cell priming, how this process is regulated in vivo is unclear. We show here that the depletion of CD301b(+) DCs specifically enhanced the development of Tfh cells, germinal center B cells and antibody responses against protein antigens. Exaggerated antibody responses in mice depleted of CD301b(+) DCs occurred in the absence of any adjuvants, and resulting antibodies had broader specificity and higher affinity to the immunogen. CD301b(+) DCs express high levels of PD-1 ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2. Blocking PD-1 or PD-L1 during priming in wild-type mice partially mimicked the phenotype of CD301b(+) DC-depleted animals, suggesting their role in Tfh suppression. Transient depletion of CD301b(+) DC results in the generation of autoreactive IgG responses. These results revealed a novel regulatory mechanism and a key role of CD301b(+) DCs in blocking autoantibody generation.