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Interaction Between Regulatory T Cells and Antibody-Producing B Cells for Immune Responses at the Upper Respiratory Mucosa Against Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae: In Vitro Assay Model

Hirano, T;Kadowaki, Y;Matsunaga, T;Yoshinaga, K;Kawano, T;Moriyama, M;Suzuki, M;

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of regulatory T cells (Tregs) on B-cell immune responses against outer membrane protein (OMP) from nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) in vitro, to clarify its exact mechanism from an immunologic standpoint. Mice were vaccinated intranasally with OMP to induce OMP-specific immune responses in the nasal mucosa. Mononuclear cells (MNCs) were collected from the nasal mucosa, and Tregs and helper T (Th) cells were isolated separately from the spleens of those mice. Three different cell culture groups were allocated: MNCs cocultured with Tregs, MNCs cocultured with Th cells, and MNCs cultured alone. At 24 and 72 hours after cell culture, the concentrations of various cytokines and antibodies in culture supernatants were measured to assess the effects of Tregs and Th cells on B-cell responses. Cytokine levels and specific anti-OMP antibody levels in culture media were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. CD69 or CD80 expression on B220-positive cells was detected using flow cytometric analysis. Th1 and Th2 cytokine concentrations were significantly elevated in the 3 groups incubated with OMP from 24 to 72 hours. Additionally, interleukin-10 levels were significantly higher in the Treg and Th groups than in the control group. Levels of OMP-specific immunoglobulin A did not differ significantly among the groups. The ratios of CD69+B220+ B2 cells were nearly the same in the 3 groups; however, the ratio of CD80+B220+ B2 cells was higher in the control group than in the Treg and Th groups during incubation. Tregs and Th cells did not affect OMP-specific immunoglobulin A production in this study. However, these cells may partially inhibit B-cell functions, such as T-cell activation. These inhibitory effects may be related to interleukin-10.