Understanding cellular and molecular events in diabetes mellitus will identify new approaches for therapy. Immune system cells are important modulators of chronic inflammation in diabetes mellitus, but the role of B cells is not adequately studied. The aim of this work was to define the function of B cells in diabetes mellitus patients through focus on B cell responses to pattern recognition receptors.
We measured expression and function of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on peripheral blood B cells from diabetes mellitus patients by flow cytometry and multiplexed cytokine analysis. We similarly analysed B cells from non-diabetic donors and periodontal disease patients as comparative cohorts.
B cells from diabetes mellitus patients secrete multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines, and IL-8 production is significantly elevated in B cells from diabetic patients compared with those from non-diabetic individuals. These data, plus modest elevation of TLR surface expression, suggest B cell IL-8 hyperproduction is a cytokine-specific outcome of altered TLR function in B cells from diabetes mellitus patients. Altered TLR function is further evidenced by demonstration of an unexpected, albeit modest ‘anti-inflammatory’ function for TLR4. Importantly, B cells from diabetes mellitus patients fail to secrete IL-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine implicated in inflammatory disease resolution, under a variety of TLR-stimulating conditions. Comparative analyses of B cells from patients with a second chronic inflammatory disease, periodontal disease, indicated that some alterations in B cell TLR function associate specifically with diabetes mellitus.
Altered TLR function in B cells from diabetes mellitus patients increases inflammation by two mechanisms: elevation of pro-inflammatory IL-8 and lack of anti-inflammatory/protective IL-10 production.
Keywords: B lymphocytes, Cytokines, Diabetes mellitus, Human, Toll-like receptors