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posted on 23.07.2018, 10:33 by Mohd. Tarique, Huma Naz, Santosh V. Kurra, Chaman Saini, Raza Ali Naqvi, Reeta Rai, Mohd Suhail, Neena Khanna, Donthamshetty N. Rao, Alpana Sharma

Regulatory B cells (Bregs) are known to exhibit their regulatory functions through interleukin-10 (IL-10) cytokine which suppress inflammation. There are only a few studies explaining the phenotype and functioning of these cells in contribution to host immunity in leprosy. Here, we evaluated the role of IL-10 producing Bregs in the pathogenesis of leprosy and assessed their immunoregulatory effects on Tregs and effector T cells. We found an increased frequency of Bregs and increased expression of their immune modulatory molecules (IL-10, FoxP3, and PDL-1) in leprosy patients. The potential immunoregulatory mechanism of Bregs was also investigated using MACS sorted Teff (CD4+CD25) and Treg (CD4+CD25+) cells were cocultured with Bregs to elucidate the effects of Bregs on effector T and regulatory T cells. Cell coculture results showed that purified Bregs cells from leprosy patients convert CD4+CD25 cells into CD4+CD25+ cells. Cell coculture experiments also demonstrated that leprosy derived IL-10 producing Bregs enhance FoxP3 and PD-1 expression in Tregs and enhanced Tregs activity. Blocking of IL-10 receptor confirmed that IL-10 producing Breg has immunomodulatory effect on Tregs and effector T cells as effector T cells are not converted into Tregs and enhanced expression of FoxP3 and PD-1 was not observed on Tregs. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that IL-10 producing Breg cells play an important mechanism in controlling the immunopathogenesis of leprosy and have an immunomodulatory effect on Tregs and effector T cells. Our findings may pave way for novel targets of IL-10 producing Bregs for immunotherapy in leprosy patients.

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