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Novel feedback loop between M2 macrophages/microglia and regulatory B cells in estrogen-protected EAE mice

Benedek, G;Zhang, J;Nguyen, H;Kent, G;Seifert, H;Vandenbark, AA;Offner, H;

Immunoregulatory sex hormones, including estrogen and estriol, may prevent relapses in multiple sclerosis during pregnancy. Our previous studies have demonstrated that regulatory B cells are crucial for estrogen-mediated protection against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Herein, we demonstrate an estrogen-dependent induction of alternatively activated (M2) macrophages/microglia that results in an increased frequency of regulatory B cells in the spinal cord of estrogen treated mice with EAE. We further demonstrate that cultured M2-polarized microglia promote the induction of regulatory B cells. Our study suggests that estrogen neuroprotection induces a regulatory feedback loop between M2 macrophages/microglia and regulatory B cells.