The ICOS-B7h costimulatory receptor-ligand pair is required for germinal center formation, the production of isotype-switched antibodies, and antibody affinity maturation in response to T cell-dependent antigens. However, the potentially distinct roles of regulated B7h expression on B cells and dendritic cells in T cell-dependent antibody responses have not been defined.
We generated transgenic mice with lineage-restricted B7h expression to assess the cell-type specific roles of B7h expression on B cells and dendritic cells in regulating T cell-dependent antibody responses. Our results show that endogenous B7h expression is reduced on B cells after activation in vitro and is also reduced in vivo on antibody-secreting plasma B cells in comparison to both naïve and germinal center B cells from which they are derived. Increasing the level of B7h expression on activated and plasma B cells in B-B7hTg mice led to an increase in the number of antibody-secreting plasma cells generated after immunization and a corresponding increase in the concentration of antigen-specific high affinity serum IgG antibodies of all isotypes, without affecting the number of responding germinal center B cells. In contrast, ICOS costimulation mediated by dendritic cells in DC-B7hTg mice contributed to germinal center formation and selectively increased IgG2a production without affecting the overall magnitude of antibody responses.
Using transgenic mice with lineage-restricted B7h expression, we have revealed distinct roles of ICOS costimulation mediated by dendritic cells and B cells in the regulation of T cell-dependent antibody responses.
Keywords: ICOS, B7h, Costimulation, Antibody, Germinal center, Plasma cell, Dendritic cell