The Journal of Immunology
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) induced during autoimmunity often become quiescent and unable to resolve disease, suggesting inadequate activation. Resolution of established experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) can be achieved with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) fused to reovirus protein 1 (MOG-p1), which activates Tregs, restoring protection, but requiring other regulatory cells to revitalize them. B cells have a dichotomous role in both the pathogenesis and recovery from EAE. Although inflammatory B cells contribute to EAE’s pathogenesis, treatment of EAE mice with MOG-p1, but not OVA-p1, resulted in an influx of IL-10-producing B220(+)CD5(+) B regulatory cells (Bregs) enabling Tregs to recover their inhibitory activity, and in turn, leading to the rapid amelioration of EAE. These findings implicate direct interactions between Bregs and Tregs to facilitate this recovery. Adoptive transfer of B220(+)CD5(-) B cells from MOG-p1-treated EAE or Bregs from PBS-treated EAE mice did not resolve disease, whereas the adoptive transfer of MOG-p1-induced B220(+)CD5(+) Bregs greatly ameliorated EAE. MOG-p1-, but not OVA-p1-induced IL-10-producing Bregs, expressed elevated levels of B and T lymphocyte attenuator (BTLA) relative to CD5(-) B cells, as opposed to Tregs or effector T (Teff) cells, whose BTLA expression was not affected. These induced Bregs restored EAE Treg function in a BTLA-dependent manner. BTLA(-/-) mice showed more pronounced EAE with fewer Tregs, but upon adoptive transfer of MOG-p1-induced BTLA(+) Bregs, BTLA(-/-) mice were protected against EAE. Hence, this evidence shows the importance of BTLA in activating Tregs to facilitate recovery from EAE.